United 1 - 2 Tottenham
Smalling Vidic Evans Evra
Valencia Cleverley Carrick Januzaj
Just when I thought we were gathering momentum and finally returing to our old self, we lose again at Old Trafford. Our 4th loss, this season, at what used to be our fortress. We're dropping too many points at OT and it's not just this year. Until a couple of years ago, we used to lose one game max at home. If I'm not mistaken, we've lost twice last year and a couple more the year before. However, our good away form made up for those losses. We've got a decent away run this year as well but it will never make up for 4 home losses and we should simply do much better when playing at Old Trafford. We've lost games vs WBA, Everton & Newcastle, decent sides, true, but definitely no world beaters and we've got a side more than capable of beating them. The side we played today is the same side that conceded a total of 11 goals vs Liverpool and Man City, so no excuses.
That said, I thought we actually played quite well today. Tottenham got two lucky breaks while on the other side they built a stone wall in front of their goalie who was performing miracles in goal. Webb turned a blind eye to a clear penalty when Welbeck, who I admit made the most of it, was fouled inside the box. Lloris also fouled Young inside the box during the final minutes and that could have easily been a penalty as well. Anyway, Webb was having none of it and Tottenham saw out the game and leapfrogged us in the table.
Our right backs let us down today. Both Smalling and Valencia could have done much better in both goals. Without Rafael, we look pretty poor in that position. Smalling is a centre back while, for all the power he's got, Valencia lacks the defensive discipline to play in the right back position. Futhermore, on the left, for all the heart he shows, Evra isn't the Evra of old. He's become a liability there and we definitely need a cover. Actually, we need a replacement not just an understudy. Fabio and Buttner are not good enough to replace Patrice.
So a left back should definitely be on our January shopping list. Add a midfielder to that list and, if bought, we'll probably have a chance of getting into top 4. However, we shouldn't buy just for the sake of buying. Buying average players won't solve our problems. We've got plenty of average players around the squad. Who are they? Well, here's the list; Anderson, Buttner, Young, Cleverley & Fabio just to name a few. Further to that, for all the technique he's got in his locker, Kagawa is not fit to play in a typical United formation while the likes of Evra, Rio and Vidic look like they're miles past their best. It hurts to say this, but Fletcher will never return to his former self. Nani will probably never fulfill his potential and Chicharito couldn't control a ball if his life depended on it. That's 12 players who are not United quality. That's the biggest reason why we're struggling and it's not because of Moyes. Moyes inherited this squad and his biggest mistake was that he hesitated and left it too late to make a move in the transfer window.
So, should we dispose of the players I've just mentioned? Some of them, yes. No doubt about that. I'm willing to bet my left nut that Rio, Evra, Anderson, Buttner and Kagawa won't be in our side come next season. Will we see any departures this January? Probably. Will we see any arrivals? I hope we do! The amount of average players we've got in midfield is very worrying for a side of United's standard.
We've got the backbone of a very good football team. We've got players who could lead our team to more success in the future. Moyes, who will be given time, should build a team revolving around the likes of Jones, Rafael, Evans, Carrick, Januzaj, Rooney and Welbeck. They all look like players who know what it means to play for United. Until that team is assembled we've got to be patient and await more hurtful defeats and disappointing performances. For all the glory we've experienced, a couple years of hurt shouldn't be much of a problem.
Come on United!