What We Learned: Stoke City 2-1 Manchester United

David Moyes unintentionally broke another record in his first season in charge of Manchester United today; becoming the first manager to oversee a defeat to Stoke City in 30 years. The visitors fell behind to a fortuitous Charlie Adam free-kick and the former-Liverpool man capped a battling display by Mark Hugehes side with a stunning winner into the top corner of David De Gea’s goal, whist United suffered from familiar ailments, even with Juan Mata accompanying Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie in the starting line-up. Here’s what we made of it;

United are not making their own luck

There’s no doubt that losing two centre-backs to injury in the space of one half of football constitutes a bit of misfortune. Having to shuffle Wayne Rooney into central midfield and utilise Michael Carrick as a makeshift centre-back is far from ideal, either. The unfortunate deflection for Charlie Adam’s first goal hardly helped matters, either. But don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking that these issues conspired to cost United the match.

The visitors had over half an hour to impose their will on the game before Phil Jones was stretchered off and the best part of forty minutes after Adam’s second goal, and only managed a spell of possession laced with some consistent threat in stoppage time at the end of the game. Simply put, United weren’t good enough for most of this game. They failed to create many telling chances, sent cross after useless cross into Stoke’s welcoming arms and failed to find a killer pass or touch on the rare occasions that they managed to squeeze their way through the home side’s ranks.

Welbeck vs Stoke

The tactical reshuffle prompted by Jones’ injury hardly helped Moyes’ cause, with Danny Welbeck struggling in an unbalanced attack and Rooney unable to influence proceedings from so far back. Mata, shunted out wide, fared little better, and given Darren Fletcher was sat on the bench, it’s stunning that he wasn’t brought in to allow United’s attacking players to excel in more familiar roles. Simply put, United weren’t unlucky; they simply weren’t good enough.

There goes the Mata-factor

If United’s record signing was under any illusions as to the difficulties his new club were experiencing, today’s loss should have laid them bare. The Spaniard, ever willing to chase the ball found himself in the Rooney role far too often; dropping deep and chasing the ball down, trying to make something happen. Mata was able to play some useful passes but so crowded was Stoke’s penalty area it was difficult to provide anything clinical. What’s most telling is that even with United’s biggest threat’s starting together for the first time (bar Adnan Januzaj), they created so little.

Mata United

On the bright side, Mata is at least one of us, now.

Moyes’ post-match-mortems are not helping his cause

There’s no alternate that exists where United fully deserved all three points today, yet David Moyes insists on marking his charges out to be plucky losers. This is yet another defeat by a single goal, a fourth this calendar year, so the results fit at least, but the performances do not. United are simply not doing enough in these tight contests; not enough chances are created, not enough pressure placed on supposedly inferior opponents and not nearly enough fight is shown when behind. Whether you’re behind the manager or not, there’s no denying that Moyes is not doing himself any favours by distorting reality, especially when the prospect of a fourth-place finish is beginning to look remote.

Van Persie has returned in sharp fashion

After a lay-off almost two months in length, the return of Robin Van Persie to the United line-up is a rare bright spots in an ever-greying sky. Thus far, the Dutchman has had two decent opportunities to score, and hit the target on both occasions. His sharpness when provided with the ball has been heartening. Just a shame that his colleagues aren’t able to find him in dangerous positions more often.

robin-van-persie-vs-newcastle2

The season may not improve

Apologies for not being a bastion of positivity, but at this stage, after another loss in which the same limitations and issues are highlighted repeatedly, with the January transfer window long gone, you have to wonder if United’s season will end on anything approaching a high-note. Given that if this current form continues then the club’s best hope of Champions League qualification will be to win the competition itself, well…

If there were more positive signs, more chances being created and less groan-inducing adherence to a single strategy played over and over in the hope of breaking down dogged opponents then perhaps this wouldn’t have been such a negative afternoon. But this defeat to Stoke has simply further exacerbated the situation and brought United’s problems into even sharper relief. If Moyes doesn’t find a way to turn things around soon, then there’s a chance he won’t be around much longer at all.

33 Comments

  1. Moyes didn’t deserve to stay any longer, he has no any excuse, perhaps he’s the only new manager at the club, the answer is no. Everton have a new manager and they beat Moyes at OT, Tottenham also etc. So we don’t want Moyes anymore

  2. Thought we were unlucky today but i don’t think tactically moyes done himself any favours. he sud have brought on fletch instead of welbeck.

    during that period we were on top and the was coming however if it didnt come then he cudhave brought januzaj or valencia on for cleverley and pushed rooney back and played mata through the middle. he made the change too early and effectively took rooney out of the final third where we needed him the most

    cant keep dropping points or its europa league at best for us!!!!

  3. Sadly, I have now joined the seemingly growing ranks of those who feel Moyes is out of his depth. Tactically poor, unable to motivate and depressingly pessimistic in his briefings with the media, I am struggling to find anything to like about him and his tenure at our club. I’m not saying he has to go, but I don’t feel anything towards him, other than indifference. Oh well on we go……

  4. In the middle absolutely no conviction!!!

    please watch this and tell me Kagawa in the middle is not a good option!
    http://youtu.be/tqmGn7Im55Y

    2 holding midfielders is doing no good for us… So throw an attacker there to provide decisiveness! Just please look at the options Kagawa provides!

  5. Time and time again I’m feeling frustrated with the same players! The only players I think that have got a drop of hunger in them…are never in the team! There is serious lack of understanding of the players we have got and their capabilities. I’m not sure this coaching staff is qualified with the modern game. To cut a long opinion short, we’re screwed!

  6. Mata played exactly as Mourinho knows he plays. Chasing nothing, at leisurely speed, and doing nothing when he gets there. In other words, “token” running, always avoiding contact and no actual effort to win the ball or affect the opponent. Basically, trotting about, trying to keep up appearances.
    Then, every now and again, he’ll make a neat pass. That shows up on the highlight reel and everyone says “Wow! What a neat pass!”
    Job done for Mata. His latest game for United was the perfect example of why Mourinho wanted him out. Soon enough, the United players and even the fans will cotton on.

  7. I’m pretty sure fergie used to chat shit at the end of games we lost as well. What’s said to the press is one thing, what’s said to the players in the dressing room is another.
    As for the substitutions, makes me laugh how were all experts after the event, had he brought fletch on people would have been asking why he didn’t make a more attacking substitution, the previous comment of 2 holding midfielders being too many would suggest they feel the same so they would still have moaned after the event regardless

  8. Why Didn’t he pick a defender on the bench wat made him not have Rio, Vidic or Smalling on the bench. Very Weird I guess !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Upto U 2 Decide. !!!!!!

  9. Not only that DM is not upto the mark to manage MU, he also brings along bad luck into the club. No matter how much he spends on world class players, MU are not going to win any trophies, if the manager is just an average one. Games will be lost, big money will be drained out and fans will say bye-bye to the club. Bye-bye DM now will be the best option available. Disaster Manager = David Moyes = DM.

  10. Sry abt that Smalling was playing but very weird 2 C Carrick playing at Defense !!!!! with no defender on the bench !!!!!!

  11. dm and his assistants are not gd enough for manutd. Shd be sacked. The old man fergie shd come back for a rescue mission. Failing to qualify for champs will be disastrous to our club.

  12. dm and his assistants are not gd enough for manutd. Shd be sacked. The old man fergie shd come back for a rescue mission. Failing to qualify for champs will be disastrous to our club.

  13. dm and his assistants are not gd enough for manutd. Shd be sacked. The old man fergie shd come back for a rescue mission. Failing to qualify for champs will be disastrous to our club.

  14. Motes doesn’t know what he is doing making our team weak and the old players giggs rio evra carrick should be replaced. Why he persist with cleverly and welbeck is frankly baffling they are lower league quality another garbage English player being over hyped by the manager and media.

  15. When David Moyes first got the job, I was one of his detractors. His 14 year track record as a manager was that of a non-winner, hardly the C. V. of a man chosen to fill the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson. Still, Fergie anointed him and who am I to go against the greatest manager of all time. So, I have backed Moyes, quite happy for him to prove me wrong. In fact I wanted to be proved wrong.

    Unfortunately, I think I was right in the first place about Moyes. To me he isn’t up to the job and I reckon he doesn’t think he is up to it either.

    We have had a few of bright moments this season: the victory over Arsenal (though not in United’s usual style); a good run in the C.L.; the signing of Mata and best of all, the emergence of Adnan Januzaj. However, as each month as ended, United have managed to reach a new low for the season. We are running out of false dawns.

    Now every team in the League thinks it can get a result against us, and they are doing it. Eight defeats out of twenty four in the League and knocked out of both domestic cup competitions, illustrates how bad it’s been so far. Moyes signed Mata, and Rooney and RVP returned, yet still we lose, to Stoke of all teams!

    I’m all in favour of giving the manager ‘time’. However, it needs to be the right manager in the first place.

  16. It’s Sunday so I’ll have another rant. Just watched a recording of the full 90 minutes of the Cardiff v Norwich game. Zaha came off the bench and was so influential, a keen livewire.

    Comparing Zaha’s performance with the dross from the Britannia, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. No doubt, Solksjaer will send Wilf back a better player, but that only highlights Moyes mismanagement of him.

  17. Stoke were a bit too physical,even so they looked more organised like they wanted to win.They worked harder,they chased and pressed and it could have been 3-1.United were unlucky with injuries and players not in form, bla bla.Nope the manager,s concept and tactics ARE NOT WORKING.No bullshit,those are the facts.It looks like time will tell is all thats left.

    • Moye,s,post comment on the game,I thought we played well,I have no complaints except:we did,nt finish them off.JA DA Swansea play well
      and look where they are.Football did,nt start out being pingpong,but
      the old so called kick and rush just might be more effectiv Again if
      they all got alot more mobile.

  18. Since i heard the news that this mam was taking over firm fergie, i knew this would happen, and our mid table mediocrity begins. I love the fact that most its fans are behind him just because fergie told u to, wake up u idiots and get behind him and kick him the fuck out. When u play shit like Cleverley. Wellbevl and young u should b sacked just for this alone and take your fucking useless backroom staff with u.

  19. I don’t think the formation 4,4,2 is working with the players that we have. It seems a bit outdated and we need to get more balls passing through the opponent’s defences. I would go for a 4,2,3,1. Usual back four with Raphael, Jones, Evans and Evra. Carrick and Fletcher in defensive midfield roles. Rooney in a CAM position with Mata to the left and Januzaj to the right. Van Persie up the top. We need a world class centre back and a world class left back. Evra isn’t the player he once was and he just seems to be getting worse defensively. Rotate Kagawa with Mata maybe or Januzaj. And rotate Valencia with Januzaj. Need a box to box midfielder like Yaya Toure next to Carrick. Carrick can sit at the back and pull strings whilst you have a powerhouse driving forward and supplying the front 4 with the ball. I think Young’s time is just about up, Smalling I’m not sure what he’s doing half the time. Cleverley isn’t either a playmaker or a powerhouse midfielder.

  20. Y’all need to hold your horses. If we are the same situation this time next season then you will have more of a point but at the moment, Moyes has a squad that’s not good enough, which will take time to get to the level that everyone accepts. Yes, we were champions last year but only because of Sir Alex.

    Moyes is already making moves to remove the dead wood with Anderson having left and others like Cleverley and Young will follow but it won’t happen overnight. It will take at least 3 years before we are back to where we need to be. I’m a bit disappointed that Zaha hasn’t been given more of a chance but hopefully that will come.

    Oh and for those who want Moyes out, who do you want to come and take his place? You ever thought that far ahead? Thought not.

    • why should we wait 3 years. were the champions for fucks sake. we are going nowhere with this man. he wont play young talented players (zaha, ross barkley??) and his tactics make dave basset look enterprising. he has to go. i dont want to wait 3 fucking years and i doubt the 70 odd thousand at OT want to either. we now have 2 desperate signings in mata and fellaini and the likes of kagawa and evra have had their confidence destroyed openly by DM since day one leading to loss of form. HE IS FUCKING CLULESS and even if with time he does get it right how much time are we talking about? were man united. we better than this, much better

    • We know there needs to be a rebuild but the current squad is at least good enough to be more than competitive against most teams.

      Problem is, Moyes can’t get the best out of what he has got, regardless of the player combination and tactics.

      As for an alternative to Moyes, there’s plenty of choice. World class managers everywhere would be interested. United is a plum job.

    • Moyes is destroying confidence in the team. He should keep his fat fucking mouth shut when talking to the media. Biggest job in football, wrong man.

    • Nobody would be able to get the best out of half of those players other than SAF. It shows you what a great manager he was.

      red baron – You say ‘we are man united and we are better than this’. I disagree, we are not. Our midfield and defense are truly awful and just because we are Champions and we have a handful of world class players, doesn’t mean we deserve top 4. Moyes needs to get a good stab at this job. Its not fair to give him players like Clev, Young and Valencia and an aging rio and evra and expect him to set the world alight.

      ‘I don’t want to wait 3 years’ – you have been spoilt for the past 20! No other club has given their fans this much success than possibly Barca. You can afford a little of the hard times.

      Say i did agree with the ‘moyes out’ lot. Who would we get in that would do a better job and who is available?

    • When SAF started at MUFC, how many seasons did it take him to win his first premier league title?

      If we had a different manager, do you think adnan, welbeck, zaha, young players, would have been given a chance to play at the first team?

      I think SAF chose Moyes because he is qualified to run the club. If SAF wanted someone to run the first team, he’d pick Mourinho.

  21. I was fairly sanguine when Moyes was appointed,trusting in SAF’s judgement,although I did not agree with his decision to appoint the back room team from Everton,against SAF’s advice.
    This decision is now coming back to haunt Moyes and will continue to do so.
    The argument that this,or almost,this team won at a canter last season by 11 points,and so should be performing similarly again is redundant;as that team was managed by SAF and his staff,a team that demanded,and received,complete,unyielding respect due to their collective record over the years at MUFC.
    When SAF first came down from Scotland,he had a winning mentality,and record to go with it as had his staff.
    Compare that to Moyes,who has won nothing noteworthy despite years of management.
    Football at this top level is about the respect of the team you manage,and unfortunately I fear, that Moyes commands none with this current crop of players.

  22. Valencia was not to be left out. One between Rooney, Mata and RVP was not to start.
    Anyway, lets focus on next match…

  23. tom, you are deluded. we have lost 8 games. we have lost to teams who even with our current squad arent fit to lace our boots. we are losing moral and the moyes style of football, if the same as it was at everton, is truly woeful. he has NEVER been able to change a game tactically. he cannot beat the big teams. he is a nice bloke but he isnt good enough. we should have promoted from within. why fix what isnt broken? i think fergusons choice of successor had a lot to do with old red noses ego as much as anything else. and if we get past the 100m mark of spending with moyes it will further tear the ferguson legacy to shreds showing how his lack of investment was obviously lining his own pockets. never mind moyes out, fergie out. he has so much to answer for

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