What We Learned: Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle United

Van Persie shouldn’t have had to play

Even if Robin Van Persie is one of the best strikers on the continent, it’s unfair to expect him to have to sling the team on his back without having fully recovered from a troubling groin injury. He left Arsenal because he had clearly had enough of carrying a team that didn’t have the mental strength to challenge for major honours. Now he’s being thrust into battle whilst unfit and asked to lead a bunch of players desperately short of confidence. As talented as Van Persie is, it’s not fair to expect him to shoulder that burden. Given how many times he dug us out of a hole last season, you’d really hope that the favour could be returned when he’s in need of some support.


Jones’ presence made United more solid, despite the result

phil-jones-faceUnited gave the ball away far too cheaply in the first half against Everton and gave the visitors a number of opportunities to harm them on the counter.  Jones, who had offered such a good basis for attack against Leverkusen was missed, for sure. This time, his presence was hardly a difference-maker in terms of the scoreline, but in comparison with the midweek encounter, United looked much less susceptible to attack centrally, at least.

Newcastle were seemingly restricted to threats from out wide, save for the occasional foray through the middle with the goal coming after a speculative punt in the direction of United’s diminutive-in-size left-back. Jones might have struggled on occasion, and the sheer power that he put into a 50-50 challenge with Cheick Tiote could easily have landed him on the treatment table, but United looked more commanding through the middle today, and whilst that might not earn Jones a pay rise, it deserves recognition.


Leaders wanted. Apply within

Wayne Rooney has been leading by performance-based example all season. Patrice Evra has shown more effort than men 6/7 years his junior. Robin Van Persie played a full 90 minutes even though he clearly hasn’t recovered from a groin injury. Of those three, the former has asked to leave the club twice, the middle was almost replaced in the summer and the latter has been with the club for a little over a year. And these are the men offering perhaps the best example as to what’s required from United’s team. Yes, that’s a little off.

So far, that hasn’t been enough to shake United from this current stupor, so what’s the answer? Purchase a midfield general with a bite bigger than his bark? Unearth the next Serbian battle-axe who looks like he may burst a blood vessel when organising his defence for every corner? God knows, but there are a sight too many passengers in this current United crop, and their lack of application is undermining those trying to improve United’s lot.


David Moyes looks defeated

david-moyes-crowdPerhaps it’s the sight of Sir Alex Ferguson staring through the soul of every reporter when United’s off days were questioned that makes his successor’s attitude seem all the more galling, but from a fan’s perspective, the sheer pessimism that permeates Moyes’ post-match interviews is making for some incredibly bleak watching. He looks like a deer in the headlights, a man overwhelmed and one who doesn’t look like he has answers to his current predicament. It’s hardly an attitude that’ll inspire his players, either.

In the short term, forget the transfer windows, forget the league position and forget about the league title; Moyes needs to figure out a way to inspire his troops. He spent ten years on Merseyside forging a solid side that was frequently tough to beat, and when things weren’t going his way, he was on the touchline barking out orders with authority. Today, we saw a man squabbling with Hatem Ben Arfa for the ball in a match that felt long gone. Moyes doesn’t have confidence in his own abilities at present, and that’s translating onto the pitch.

Comparing him with his predecessor is unfair, but on these occasions, you’d see a fire in Ferguson’s eyes during his post-match chat, like he was two minutes away from ripping the contents of his dressing room a new one for failing to get a result. Moyes might not be ready to bite his players’ heads off, but somehow, he needs to light a fire underneath their backsides.


There’s patience in the stands, but it won’t last forever

Can you imagine the noise at Stamford Bridge if Chelsea had started a season this badly? We sat above their fans in an ivory tower with our long-term manager and watched as they discarded some top-drawer talent in pursuit of a quick trophy fix. Of course the fans get a little impatient when things go wrong during the game, name me a set of fans that wouldn’t, but for now, Old Trafford hasn’t descended into open rebellion and is instead a cauldron of nerves. That’s hardly great in itself, but at least our fans aren’t losing their heads.

Not that this makes us better than the Premier League’s more impatient teams, but our fans appear to be switched on enough to see that United require some significant retooling. Of course, that patience isn’t in infinite supply, and the manner of defeat to Newcastle left little room for positivity. Moyes clearly has some goodwill left with the United fans or he’d still be hearing a HD chorus of boos in his sleep, but it’s imperative for him to keep them on side.

What did you think to the Newcastle United match? Comment in the section below.

15 Comments

  1. I would venture to suggest that whomsoever got the position vacated by Fergie, was on a hiding to nothing and If I were a Man U fan right now, I would resign myself to the fact that there is no-one out there that can fill that hole which , after Sir Alex, is unfillable.

  2. Quite frankly, I think the situation is getting out of hands. First, SAF’s void is unfillable but in all sincerity, apart from the early unfavourable fixtures Moyes has been saddled with tinkering on all the injured and unavailable players. There’s lack of depth in the squad. From my observation, we lost almost all the matches in which Van persie and Roonie have not played together either due to injury or suspension. Our important players have been unavailable most times unlike last season. Let’s give this coach a benefit of the doubt. This is coming from a loyal united fan.

  3. Moyes did well in Everton. He’s a good coach. United was always inviting trouble by not signing at least one world class player before start ogvyhe season. Sir Alex got away with this team due to his managerial acumen vuand I doubt if any coach in the world could do well with the bunch of players farfing around the pitch. We have only three players deserving to wear the man utd Jersey and these three are only when both Rooney and van persie are on the pitch

  4. moyes needs time cos l see him to be doing great. changing 27years philosophy will need some time even if he doesn’t win a troupy. he should be giving time

  5. Football is no longer primarily a sport. It’s a business. You can fully understand if the Glazers’ did not want to back Moyes with anymore cash seeing as the last time they did it, he bought his comfort blanket which has failed so spectacularly.

    He needs to stand up as a manager and get the best out of this team. He is not getting the best out of his team which is ALL his fault. Not Ed Woodward’s. Ed should’ve backed him in the window yes, us being 9th is DM’s fault.

  6. The facts speak for themselves unfortunately –

    The received wisdom was that Moyes was the man who made Everton able to punch above it’s weight.

    If Moyes had a better collection of players he would do so much better but he couldn’t get them at Everton.

    Moyes moves to United and inherits all the players that just won the Premier League

    Everton get a new manager who very quickly takes them to 5th place in the league, higher than most of the time Moyes was in charge.

    Everton come to United and win, something they never did under Moyes (admittedly they weren’t playing against Fergie, but fact remains Moyes had the players who won the league, and Martinez had player who Moyes could only get to mid-table plus a couple who Martinez had brought in)

    Now Everton are 4 places and 5 points above United. A position they could only have dreamt of under Moyes.

    Maybe we should have gone for Martinez.

  7. As a Newcastle fan here are my comments. Man utd are an institution as was sir Alex, however I think he got out at a time when his team were in decline. I feel sorry for Moyes who is a great manager, I just hope he does not get crucified for what is happening, as this is not a great Man utd side. Its a bit like the Newcastle side a few years ago propped up by Alan Shearer but you have Rooney AND R.V.P, the rest are just above average. JMHO of course, just be glad of the years at the top you all have enjoyed, its time for some other team to have a go. Oh, and I know it will NOT be Newcastle!

  8. Another pathetic display from Moyes. I dont get why we should give him time? This guy is totally inept. If u look at his time at everton, on average since he took the reigns at everton they were the 8th biggest spenders in the prem and on average they finished 9th…the guy is negative and his ineptitude will kill us…i for one want him out or the season ticket will get sold…pathetic twat

  9. Time is running out shortly.. Patience is there but frustration arises. Why? Here’s my opinion:
    Lack of leadership in coaching. Moyes is a good manager by CV. However his CV includes no trophies. Now if he treats our dressing room in the way he used to in Everton, there is a big mess. Half of our dressing room have won everything there is to win in a matter of club football. Those guys doesn’t swallow everything that DM and his staff are spitting into their faces. Even the guys might respect DM they apparently aren’t giving the same to i.e. Phil Neville. Aftermath is always easy but now it seems we need strong head coach. I wonder if they burned the bridges with Mike Phelan?

    Old Team. As mentioned, half of the team have won it all and furthermore they are getting old. Commanding players are over 30 and that is not healthy. I think SAF wanted to win a couple more and didn’t freshen the squad due to the fact he knew retiring was around the corner. Patrice, Rio, Nemanja, Michael and Giggsy all well over 30 -> their ship seem to have sailed. Allthough we miss Carrick atm very badly.

    Average cover up. Gap between the best and the rest of the team is too big. What comes after RVP, Wazza and DDG? Huge gap, that’s what it is. Kagawa is not allowed to play in his preferred position, if he would, he would be 4th. Januzaj will be in that group but it will take a couple of more years for him and at the time RVP will be 33-34 and slowing. Then we have this huge pool of average players who can spark at times but most of the time they are.. yes, average: Wellbeck, Young, one trick Valencia, Cleverley, Nani, Rafa, Evans etc.

    Formation. We’ve played 4-4-1-1 for too long. Opponents can block the crosses from Valencia, which have been lethal. Lack of creativity in the midfield leads to the fact that we cannot pop open the defence. Since it seems January will give us one or two new signings at the best, we need to get our best men on the pitch in order to get us to finish in top4. Yes, no matter what DM says, this season won’t bring us 21st.. As mentioned, we need Shinji as CAM and furthermore we cannot drop Wazza on the bench for that -> either we go for the popular 4-2-3-1 Where Carrick and Jones are the DM’s and Wazza, Shinji and Adnan are the three AM’s who can and will change positions throughout the game causing problems or we’d go for 4-4-2 diamond where Carrick is alone at the bottom, Januzaj and Nani/Valencia for wings, Kagawa as CAM and RVP + Wazza at the top. That would also mean that we need to maintain posession since this formation is for attacking and Carrcick doesn’t stand a chance with fast midfielders on the opponent’s half.

    All in all, we have a mess in our hands. Without top4 finish, we are on the brink of losing both, Wazza and RVP and furthermore we can say goodbye to world class reinforcements. I sincerely hope DM get’s his s*it together and we can look back at all this in May and laugh saying “we are United, we never gave up and look what it brought to us!”

    • Do u understand that Moyes is simply NOT a winner and never will be. Its just not in his make up. Doesn’t have the personality to manage such a great and massive club. No player worth his salt would want to play for the man. He has to go NOW or things will just turn even more into the mire and be a shitty mid table team…thts not us ffs

  10. Last season United got a bit Lucky.The last two games could have gone differently if they had pressed from the start.They are slow and predictable
    and yes they deserve to be in the middle of the table.They are going to have to put more coal on to get in top four.Moyes wants to get his hands out of his pockets for a start.

  11. United need to buy a couple of top quality midfielders, this has been know for some years and was unlikely to get better the longer it went on…However, Moyes needs to stop talking about transition.. This would suggest he was imposing himself on the squad which he isn’t . He has no idea what his best team is. His best team recently was the one that put 5 past Leverkusen, so why rip it apart the next game when you are desperate for league form?? Has put rotation above everything including his own common sense.. United don’t have the numbers or quality for rotation at the mo.. they need their best 11 every single match just to stay in the top half of the table. If he is still rotating the usual 7 to 8 players every match and still losing by the end of christmas it will be clear he doesn’t know what he is doing..

  12. If the head(Moyes) is not functioning well how do you expect the body(team) to fair any better. Man Utd should now concentrate on finishing fourth in the EPL. If not so win the Champion League to guarantee an appearance next season.

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