Friday, 30 August 2013


Moyes needs to keep his A game on point ahead of the trip to Liverpool
Do not be deceived. The game against Liverpool remains the very tasty affair it has always been between United and the Dippers. The second most important thing to United fans domestically every season behind winning the league is getting one over our arch rivals. Admittedly, it has become more important to beat City of late given the fact that they've taken Liverpool's place as far as challenging us for the title is concerned. However, that does not take away a near century old rivalry.

David Moyes had his first opportunity to show the world what he's about on Monday against Chelsea and I thought that he did well enough to buy himself another 7 days or so before the media has another opportunity to pull out the knives. The fact that he did not beat Jose means that he did not quite win them over though, and that is why Sunday's game took on that much importance after the final whistle on Monday.

For starters, a win would go a long way into ensuring that the former Everton manager gains a lot  more respect from the fans and the opposition. I mean you cannot rule out the possibility that Jose went with a 4-6-0 because he thought Moyes is not the kind of manager to ruffle his feathers. It might not b the case but again you just cannot rule it out.
On Sunday, he'll be up against a manager who equally wants to stamp his authority on the English game and o it will be all guns blazing from Liverpool to go with all the passion that the fixture will demand.

The bookies have Liverpool as favourites for this one so its another 'prove them wrong' mission for the Reds. Given the nature of our fixture list right until October, its is important that we do not lose so much ground on our rivals. Chelsea are currently 3 points ahead of us and this is our game in hand. City dropped all three last week so we have to make that count to our advantage.

David Moyes would not have dispelled any fears if we had started the season with bottom half opposition and won all. I think the fixture list has given him an opportunity to get as many fans on his side as possible by navigating the hardest start to the season that I have ever lived through. If he pulls it off again, he'll be one hurdle from ultimate respect. If he doesn't then it just makes his work that much harder. He hasn't made it easier for himself by strengthening the team so any dropped points will be rebuttal to his assertion that the side is good enough to win the league again.

The Champions League draw was made yesterday and although we're not in the horror of a group that Arsenal are in, we've been served up plenty of banana skins. All the sides in our group are capable of beating us on their day and if we do not make the midfield addition that we desperately need, we could be shown up in Europe once more as Sevilla (who are only good enough for the Europa league) showed us up a couple of weeks ago.
The other draw we were involved in saw us drawn at home against Sunday's opponents in the League Cup. Our U-21s couldn't have asked for a better draw!     

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Moyes prepares for kickoff

So this was supposed to be the game after which the media and ABUs take the streets and start decampaigning the man Sir Alex chose to replace him as manager of Manchester United. It was supposed to be the game in which Jose would unleash all of Chelsea's creative firepower upon United and severely expose their weaknesses to the world watching.
Come kickoff, and Chelsea fans themselves couldn't believe the line up selected by their apparently happy manager. The most optimistic thought it was a master stroke by Jose to leave the United defence guessing as to whom to pick out and man mark but the reality was that it appeared Jose had set out his team to avoid defeat at Old Trafford. What a shame.

We're told he was hired with a new resolve to play attractive football for Roman but if last night is anything to go by then the lies of Mata will rot on the Chelsea bench as Jose's raw tactics of grit come to the fore in the big matches. Enough of them though.

For the first time since 2008, Manchester United dominated possession against Chelsea. Yes we've beaten them convincingly in the recent past but you'd be hard pressed to point out a fixture in which we passed the ball more often than any of the big sides. Sir Alex used to set us up to pinch results after we lost Roy Keane and rightly so because we've been short in midfield for a while, but last night, you'd hardly lay a complaint about the United midfield. Chelsea's 6 midfielders did not seem to dominate the Carrick_Cleverley axis.
Have seen them given, Chelsea got lucky.
From a tactical point of view, it was evident that David Moyes has introduced something new to Manchester United. Regular readers of this blog will notice that I pointed this out in pre_season. United are now pressing the ball more often efficiently that they did under Sir Alex. Whereas we used to get away with it under the old boss in the league, we've suffered recently in Europe because United used to set up to defend deep into their own half and hit teams on the counter. The disadvantage of that was that we gave time to our opponents to make use of their intelligent players to pick out passes that eventually saw us conceding goals to average sides. David Moyes is a scholar of the modern game and so will have learnt that you cannot live in the current football climate if you do not press the ball. People think that Pep's Barcelona were good because of the talent in the side and yet the reality is that Pep made Barcelona the best side without the ball. When they lost it, they hurried the opposition until they gave it back.

That, in my opinion is why United suddenly saw a lot of the ball in a fixture in which we usually see less of it than the opposition. Moyes has got Cleverley clipping at heels and forcing the opponents into a mistake rather than retreating to the penalty area to wait for them to misplace a pass.They style does require fit personnel to get right but I do hope the gaffer keeps building on this new philosophy for it only makes us hat much harder to beat.
Wayne responded to the love offered to him by the crowd by putting in a hell of a shift

The tough start reaches its midpoint this weekend with a visit to Anfield. The failure to score on Monday night means that the pressure is still on for Moyes ahead of that trip. He still needs to win against the big boys to earn his credits. Until that happens though, some fans and the media a large will remain clipping at his heels reminding him of his place in the ladder of football managers.

#Didn't you just love that moment when he emerged from the tunnel to a rapturous welcome from the Stretford End and then the salute of acknowledgement...

Friday, 23 August 2013


Every team has a bogey opponent. You know, that side that always seems to get the better of you every time you meet. Manchester United's bogey side is Chelsea. The Rent Boys are the only side in the division against whom we have an inferior head to head record. They've beaten us on off days, on 'on' days almost seemingly at will. That particular fixture therefore became that much harder for us when the Mourinho rejoined them.

The 'annoysome' Portuguese has already stocked the fires ahead of his first real test this season by claiming that United were champions because the rest of the league was poor. It might help him to remember that his title winning sides of 2005 and 2006 came up against a United team that featured Liam Miller, Keiran Richardson, Alan Smith, Eric Djemba Djemba and the like. If that isn't part of the explanation as to why they won their titles so easily then I don't know what is. However that is not to take away the fact that his Chelsea team were a brilliant machine.

On Monday, David Moyes faces his first big test as United manager. There is not a bookmaker alive that thinks United will beat Chelsea next week, let alone win the league and yet the expectation of the fans will be to win. After buying himself time with that opening weekend win at Swansea, Moyes will endure a  torrid week next week if Chelsea end Monday night 6 points clear of United.
The boss has not helped himself by leaving the transfer business till late so at the moment he's got to use what Fergie left him with to negotiate the toughest start to the season we've ever had.

More still, its the first Old Trafford game of the season, he'll need to win that to win over more fans to his side. With Liverpool away coming up, its imperative that we go for the kill on Monday. At the moment, every team fancies themselves against us. The only answer Moyes can give his critics is a performance or result against the overwhelming favourites for the title. Over to you Moyesie!

Monday, 19 August 2013


So here we are then, the new league season is well underway so we can stop imagining what life without Sir Alex will be like and actually watch it unfold.

A s far as Saturday's opener was concerned, the only fathomable results were a defeat for United, a draw or a narrow win. Therefore to win 1-4 at a venue we had only previously managed a goal a game was completely out of the script. It was though the much needed start that David Moyes needed as the pressure was slowly but surely building on him ahead of the big kick off. Like Arsen

al, the media were awaiting a negative result on opening day to justify their qualms about his failure in the transfer market so far. So whilst Arsene Wenger got a full blast from the press on Sunday, Moyes has bought himself a week off the back page.

The great thing about the win was that both our fit and available strikers played blinders and helped themselves to a brace each. Nothing beats a striker heading into the season with confidence from goals. Danny Welbeck in particular needs to hit the 15 goal mark this season if he is to progress as a United striker so it was nice seeing him equal last season\s tally in one game.

Robin van Persie continues to justify why Manchester United are not wrong in selecting him ahead of Wayne Rooney. The Dutchman is quality and for all of Wayne's talents, he is not quite at the level of Robin at the moment. He will do well to realise that take his place alongside the Dutchman rather than attempt to usurp him. He did make 2 goals when he came on and his body language was of a player that no longer thought himself lucky to wear the Manchester United shirt. There's lots of kids in the academy that will be boiling  at the thought that their potential place in the team is being occupied by a lad who doesn't want to play for the club. It's happened all too many times before to star players at United and Wayne will do well to realise that he is only being ill advised by his agent.

Enough of the Wayne sulk, what a professional performance by United it was to take us top of the league on the opening day of the season. I certainly cannot remember the last time we led the league after the first round of matches. Chelsea at home next week will be a much tougher test but if Moyes goes about the job in the same professional manner as he did the other day, the bookmakers could be in for yet another surprise.