Is it a case of Fortune Favours the Brave for David Moyes?

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Life must be mundane for Josep Guardiola. Winning, as addictive as it is, can resemble monotone if overdone. At Barcelona, it went to such an extent that he left the damned continent to enjoy the New York art scene for a year. I’m afraid he’s heading in the same direction with Bayern too. He took over a team that was mechanically good and turned them into bullies. Pardon the language, but I doubt if there’s a more apt description of Bayern Munich right now.

There was quite a furore on social media when Rummenigge declared that Guardiola would be Bayern’s new manager after Heynckes. Majority of the sceptics were unsure of his ability to manage outside his comfort zone (read: Barcelona). Some of them berated him for taking over an already brilliant side and avoiding a real challenge. But what do they know? Guardiola came, he saw, he changed and is inching ever so close to conquering. Tacticians of his ilk are known to run after innovation and perfection. Conventional wisdom is of no consequence to them. ‘Philip Lahm in the midfield? Sacrilege.’ We all know how that turned out. Not enough to be the most talked about manager in the world, though.

The man who is, bears a stark difference to Guardiola in his mindspace itself. The lesser spoken about the results on the pitch, the better. When David Moyes took over Manchester United’s title winning side, the heaviest burden on him came by the name of his predecessor. He had to carry forward a grand legacy. Usually neutral while writing articles, I’ll be talking from a Manchester United fan perspective today. At the very onset, I don’t have much of a problem with the position in the table the defending champions take today. Nor is the inability to put in a fight giving me sleepless nights. I fully understand the concept of transition and am willing to endure through it. What bothers me, though, is that David Moyes has come, taken the tactics-sheet that Sir Alex had been using since 1997, and continued with it. When you’re used to a midfield of Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham playing season after season for you, it’s extremely easy to fall in love with the 4-4-2. Especially when the top-two include the likes of Cole, Yorke, Nistelrooy and Solskjaer. The trophy cupboard kept on getting heavier, and there was quite literally no reason to change. Beckham was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 and the system carried on understandably. Why it carried on till 2013, I have absolutely no clue. Not one of the ‘Sir Alex knows best’ army, I do believe he ought to have brought in a different formation once Keane left and Giggs/Scholes started ageing. Or when Nani and Valencia were our wingers.

david moyes

Enter Moyesey.

The first thought I had when the absence of the grand old man started sinking in, was somewhere on the lines of ‘a different formation, please. For God’s sake we cannot be playing 4-4-2 with Young, Carrick, Cleverley and Valencia.’ Fast forward to Stoke City at the Britannia, and we’re still playing 4-4-2. Shinji Kagawa doesn’t make it to the squad while not being injured. Berbatov’s departure was based on his work-rate. I’d like to see how the club explain the Japanese leaving in the summer. For now, we currently boast of two of the most talented playmakers in the world today and we plan to play them on the wings. You look past that, Michael Carrick and Tom ‘sideways’ Cleverley in central midfield. Are you really surprised Charlie Adam scored twice? Olympiakos was a scarily similar story, barring Juan Mata’s absence. Long story short, my only beef with David Moyes is his reluctance to make fundamental changes while in the presence of some really gifted attacking players.

I sympathize with David till it is about the quality of some of the defenders and midfielders he’s got. Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley and Antonio Valencia are absolute liabilities on a football pitch right now. There is literally nothing they bring to the table except mediocrity. And we’re talking of regular first-team players here. Moyes needs this team to be rebuilt and he’s got all the right to feel that way. When you’re playing for Manchester United, you should ideally be self-motivated to give your very best on the pitch, an attribute glaringly absent in the aforementioned players.

It is highly unlikely that we’ll be able to land anything close to five big players in one transfer window. Hence, change is imperative. Right about now would be a good time. Unless there’s a stamp-paper agreement on sticking to the 4-4-2, Moyes could do a lot worse than giving another formation a proper chance.

There are endless possibilities and opportunities to explore. The good managers go out of their way and innovate. The cautious ones will stick to the conventional. Like Lahm in the midfield for Pep, there could be a tactical masterclass waiting to happen at Manchester United. The club is too big to be averse to one. All we need is a gaffer who isn’t. Moyesey?

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19 Comments

  1. Official Club Statement. Manchester Football Asylum

    Yes, we are looking at several players at the moment.The manager has sent his scouting team out 13 times to watch Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Mangala,Bale,Xavi,Reus,Gundogan,Kroos and Barkley .He is very thorough in his player assessment. He will not waste the club’s money on useless players.

    He needs players who can join him in his vision of how football should be played.The current batch in the Asylum have stopped responding to his treatment.The Board of Directors are all backing the under fire manager.They feel that they know better than the millions of supporters worldwide who are used to ‘Total Football’. Manager Dave Mindless is determined to push his agenda of ‘Total Crap’ football onto the masses of United fans worldwide.

    Editors opinion; It seems that the Coaching staff’s lunacy has spread to the board. This manager is to politely put it a ‘Numptie’ and no one has gone into his CV with any depth.We believe that the ‘See you Jimmy’ club ,with their ‘funny’ handshakes and ‘head butt’ greetings are protecting their own. The ‘madness’ seems to be catching as other football purists constantly repeat their mantra “He needs time”, but do not be fooled by these “speak your weight machines”, as all of them are plotting to oust Dave Mindless. Can I suggest that, he does time for the ‘poisonous football’ he has served up to the world.

  2. completely agree with your article. the only thing i would say is that moyes has been stupid about his changes. he has made huge changes throughout the squad, yes many have been down to injury. but the most annoying is his choices in central midfield.

    he has been idiotic and not even tried to experiment slightly. he blindly uses carrick who is clearly the biggest liability in our squad, he sacrifices rooney’s scoring abilities so he can pick the ball up deep and have only one passing option higher up the pitch.

    kagawa is the most underrated player ever. many have criticised me for believing in him but i dont care. because if the squad was built around him i guarantee we would be soooo dangerous!!!

    the main reason for our decline is most likely age…. valencia simply doesnt have the stamina for his end to end constant running that used to make him sooo dangerous. rio and vidic simply arent ask quick or sharp as they used to be and even evra hasnt quite got the ability to maintain his high energy game.

    i genuinely believe cleverleys criticisms are a BIT harsh lol, yes you call him the sideways passer, but seriously, is there ever really any other pass on? moyes has the team being faaaaar too defensive

    • Kagawa is a back-to-back Bundesliga PoTY for heaven’s sake. There must be something right with him to excel in that league.

      Cleverley, well, I was the biggest fan of him until this season. All his stats etc aside, it’s his intensity I have the biggest problem with. You cannot be that lax while playing for Manchester United.

  3. Dreamer!!! MUFC will probably finish outside of the top 4 and you think Europe’s best would want to come play for MUFC? On what incentive? Gone are the days when players wanted to play for United, because SAF was at the helm. Players don’t get excited anymore at the prospect of playing for MUFC, for what to play under Moyes?
    For f*ck sake here is a guy who picked up champions and turned them into wusses! We got tired legs in the team, that is true, but Maldini played to his forties and was good. Giggs is still just as good, but it takes a good manager to motivate a player! Tom Cleverley for all the sticks he gets is a good player, in the ilk of Lampard without the goals. He is a hard worker, but under Moyes he has become a stark shadow of himself.
    I know most fans are waiting for the summer for United to buy top notch players, I am not holding my breath, but should it happen I’ll be happy. But the biggest problem will be Moyes managing the ‘big boys’ when he is having problems managing the likes of Mata, Kagawa and Janujaz, hate to see what would happen when you give him Reus, gudogan and Calvarho! Just saying.

    • That is precisely what I’ve tried to point out in this article. He needs to evolve as a tactician to accommodate the players we have and/or might be having.

      United are still a huge club and players would want to play for us, without a doubt. One or two seasons outside Champions League won’t affect that image as long as we are willing the dole out the moolah.

  4. It is very obviuos that kagawa is the link……keep players with energy and vision………Carrick and crew need to go………hats off to fletcher.keep him rafael keep…………………Jones has multiple energy keep………….young valencia need to move on with Carrick Rooney and a couple more….and get rid of the coaching staff and Moyes

  5. I have been criticized all season by my friends for having the opinion that besides Moyes being TOTALLY out of his depth, our biggest problem on the pitch is Rooney. We all saw what Sir Alex thought about Rooneys attitude and how he was trying to handle him, he recognized that Rooney’s best position for the team was NOT the no 10 shirt that he demands. Moyes has been credited for getting Rooney to sign the contract ?????? for God’s sake he has given him everything he has demanded and more. He is going to build the team around our golden boy. Let me just say that I believe he is a quality player and with the right management would be a major asset to the team BUT,, he is not world class in the true meaning of the words. For all his qualities he has equal failings and cannot be compared to the worlds elite.
    We have potentially, one of the most prolific forward lines but catering to Rooney is making it disjointed. I would like to see him back in midfield or on the wing and given a specific job to do, but not the freedom of the park. Build the team around Mata ‘AND’ Kagawa both genuine class footballers, indeed last season Sir Alex said this would be Kagawa’s season but unfortunately we now have a manager who’s kick and run tactics does not allow for true football.
    For all Moye’s failings (and there are way too many for any-one to defend) His biggest failure to date was to surrender to Rooney and to allow his misplaced ego to become the rotten apple in the club.

    A very, very sad lifelong (very long) supporter, ducking before all the flack starts flying.

    • It’s just a case of us needing Rooney more than our self-righteousness right now. He doesn’t need us all that much, so he has all the right to milk this chance. Who wouldn’t if given the opportunity.

  6. Sarthak,
    the way he has done it and how he tried it against Sir Alex just shows the true character of the man. He could not give a rats a@*e about the club, his playing colleagues or the fans, he just wants a stage for his ego and loyalty is not in his vocabulary. Rooney will be the first one to panic if we do get rid of Moyes.
    We will see in the future how much he is willing to play for the team and not just for himself. Last season Sir Alex gave him specific jobs to do for the benefit of the team and when RVP came along and started to steal ‘HIS’ plaudits he spat out his dummy.
    If Sir Alex was still in charge Rooney would have gone this season and he would never have given him the freedom of the park.

  7. Moyes is out of his depth and has made an absolute dog’s breakfast of the situation.

    When he goes and who replaces him will determine the starting point of the next chapter in the life and times of Manchester United. Until then all the speculation is really just pissing in the wind, as they say in the classics.

  8. Without a doubt the squad is thin almost everywhere you look. But the insistence of playing Rooney in the 10 slot forces players like Kagawa and Mata out to the wings. Why in all that is holy would you keep quality players like them off the pitch…or play them out of position just to accommodate one ego? We have players that can do something other than mindlessly hoof it in from wing. I couldn’t coach someone out of a wet paper bag and even I can see that.

  9. Not sure why we play 442, Moyes never used that formation of Everton so cant understand why hes using it now, maybe he thinks its a requirement because its in the clubs DNA, but a change of formation is needed ASAP

  10. Have been a fan of MU since days of Alex Stepney in goal etc.
    Moyes must go for whatever the reasons given, simply because the team is now mediocre, as intimidating as a pussycat etc.
    It doesn’t matter whether the players are putting in the effort or not, the manager has to manage it – bench the players if necessary.
    Mata is not a winger, playing him leaves Rafael exposed.
    Playing Rooney and Mata together doesn’t make sense as they get into each others way.
    Januzaj is good but not yet ready for full time play at this level, he has to bulk up physically; this is a job for the physio/nutritionist etc
    Tactically, Moyes is poor, he depends on the players to play well, if they have an off day, the team loses.
    Winning is a habit but so is losing. And losing is a much more difficult habit to break. Moyes does not have a winning habit, he plays not to lose and hope that the opponent has a bad day for a win. The fact that Everton is playing better now under Martinez says a lot about Moyes tactically.
    Rooney must show tactical discipline or be sold to, Chelsea is good target, let Mourinho have the headache.
    RVP? showing Arsenal form now but can probably still recover if the gaffer can show who is the boss…
    SAG managed to get the players to do their best most of the time, this together with the intimidation factor allowed them to be champions, Moyes sadly does not have the ability nor stature to man manage the players, least of all Rooney.
    To lose a game is one thing, to capitulate is another

  11. I find it strange that a multimillion pound business did not sit down and anylize last season. Yes we won the league with plenty to spare , but how many 0-2 games did we pull out of the fire and win 3-2. R vp produced a season he is never likely to repeat with his injury record. The defence was not fit for purpose. Evra had given up all pretence at defending and Rafeal was either injured or carded in all the big games, so two full backs was the priority. Instead we bought Fellaini a player with no pace who can,t pass or tackle who was used as a nuisance no. 10 for everton, we bought Kagawa , by far the most skillful player since scholes and wasted him, gave Rooney a ridiculous contract and then bought Mata. I would like to see rvp sold , rooney only used as a striker and Mata and Kagawa playing in front of a top quality mid field, and please a new manager , could n,t we do a swap deal with Everton

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