What We Learned: Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich

That was United’s best display of the season

Sure, it wasn’t the most exciting, or even scintillating performance you’ve ever seen from this club, but who on earth expected Manchester United to destroy Bayern Munch with a beautiful display of attacking football? No, United needed to be disciplined, maintain their shape and try not to get stretched by Bayern’s slick passing. The early offing was hard going, and the sense that the visitors could switch into a higher gear and overwhelm the home side at any moment never truly dissipated, but for all of their possession, Bayern could easily have gone in a goal down at half time after Danny Welbeck’s chance, and when Nemanja Vidic headed home just before the hour mark, they had only themselves to blame for some slack defending.

joones

It’s astonishing to consider that David Moyes was able to oversee such a performance given United’s frequent slip-ups at home this season, especially in light of the opponents. Alex Buttner, so often a target for derision, played his heart out against Arjen Robben and left Old Trafford with a lot more credit than when he’d entered. Michael Carrick protected his back four superbly when called upon, and Vidic and Rio Ferdinand’s centre-back partnership has never looked as solid under Moyes as it did last night. Perhaps the only thing missing was greater sharpness up front. Yet, given the circumstances, such desires feel greedy. Ultimately, the concession away goal was expected, given the opponent. That United answered with a goal of their own, and will head to Munich still very much in this quarter final tie is cause for (some) optimism.

Welbeck can cause Bayern real problems in Munich

It’s hardly the most attractive way of exploiting a team’s weakness, but there’s enough to suggest, as there was against Arsenal in Bayern’s last sixteen tie, that long balls will cause their opponents some real trouble if United can repeat similar tricks in next week’s second leg. Jerome Boateng’s slip allowed Welbeck that clear run at goal before half time, and whilst the decision to chip Manuel Neuer was appalling, the fact that his mere presence and pace provoked such uncertainty in Bayern’s back-line should give Moyes food for though. Dante will presumably replace the suspended Javi Martinez, himself booked out of the second leg after fouling Javier Hernandez when turning towards goal, which will provide further encouragement to the notion that Welbeck could hold the key to winning the tie. As City proved in this season’s group stages, despite the nature of the match, Guardiola’s side are susceptible when pressured. Not that we aspire to City’s level, of course….

danny-welbeck

Fellaini is massively out of his depth

We saw it approximately one week ago in the derby, and time has not sweetened the Belgian’s touch. Tonight, he battled hard and bit into challenges, but his work on the ball was poor. He frequently chose to run at one of the finest midfields in world football without any justification, felt he had a few extra seconds on the ball that were never available and looked far more like a man trying to fit in than a marquee signing. Here’s hoping this summer either improves him, or provides a replacement.

Bayern can offer more

There has to be a note of caution in the face of such an optimistic result, of course. Guardiola’s side dominated away from home, like we thought they would, but failed to create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities. A performance similar to the one that got them through against the Gunners a few weeks back could well cut it, such is their lethal streak in front of goal, and United must be prepared for another draining evening’s work in order to keep Bayern at bay. Still, Moyes must be proud at the way in which his side contained their opponents last night.Frank Ribery and Robben were useful, but were constantly surrounded with  little space in which to work, and Thomas Muller was feeding on scraps before his substitution. Of course there is room for improvement there, improvement we’re likely to see next week, but if this performance proved anything, it showed that United are up to the task.

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Moyes stays. At least for now

One draw doesn’t make everything all rosy between the club’s fans and its current manager. It doesn’t take away the sting of those consecutive derby losses at Old Trafford, and it doesn’t change the fact that all United have to cling on to at the business end of the season is an outside chance of winning the Champions League. It’s not good enough, and Moyes knows it, but tonight, he did the best with what he had at his disposal and got a great performance from his side. Lord knows what awaits United in Germany next week, but Moyes has done himself a few favours by coaxing such a committed display out of these players. A heavy defeat could easily happen, depending on Bayern’s mood and United keeping their discipline, but this was easily the most significant result of Moyes’ career, given the differing fortunes of these clubs. As such, you can imagine the board are breathing a little easier than they were, and probably thinking about this summer’s rebuild as opposed to a summer searching for the Scot’s replacement.

10 Comments

  1. Moyes is a conman.

    He is a negative over cautious, small minded coach at best suited to managing a modestly ambitious club.

    He took Everton to that twilight zone of ‘no success but no failure’ whereby Everton fans came to accept that getting to a domestic cup final every few years was all they could expect, despite their great history. Of course they would always lose that cup final, valiant triers all.

    Moyes undermines and destroys the players’ and fans’ confidence by talking everything down and reducing expectations to a minimum. He got away with it at Everton and is now doing it at United.

    As soon as he arrived he was talking things down. He imported not just coaches and a player from Everton but his coaching methodology, philosophy (?), mentality and his con trick. Tell everyone often enough that things are really bad and will take time to fix and it becomes self fufilling.
    “Liverpool favs at OT”,
    “aspire to be City”,
    “underdogs”,
    “need 5 or 6 world class players”,
    “6 year plan” etc.

    Some people actually start believing him. Dampen all expectation and fans will not be too demanding. The “give him time brigade” have fallen for it.

    Ignore the bleeding obvious that United are a mega-club, are reigning champions (eleven point margin no less). That the champion team is still here and Mata, Januzaj and Fail-Ani have been added. However, somehow we are no good and it’ll take six years to rebuild.

    All that ballocks expolded in Moyes’ face on Tuesday against Bayern when despite Moyes’ negativity United showed their pedigree. It was not a masterclass or anything like that. Simply, it was a team and its fans that said, “We are Manchester United, and we demand respect. Dismiss us at your peril.” The players and fans were up for a big European night regardless of Moyes.

    This shows Moyes up for the conman he is, trying to fool us (players and fans) into believing that the shambles of this season is not his fault and we have a problem that will take a dozen transfer windows to fix.

    Let’s get rid of him.

    • HAHAHAH he is not going anywhere. Our stupid fans will make sure of that. Moyes for 10 more years to teach these idiots a lesson so next time they appoint a proper manager.

  2. You are spot on.We learned that United made a super effort containing the Bayern midfield machine.A super effort in attack will be the only hope in second leg .About United,it,s OK blaming Moyes,he is part of the problem.The other is some players are treated like gods and paid like them and others on a shoestring.It,s obvious German&Spanish football are streets ahead in training.United could have been improved by now with a few new players and a decent manager.Everyone blaming Moyes but it,s the higher ups that are the problem.

    • Every Word Moyes utters is PR,just WHO will make that change,the owners?The establishment,Woodward,Fergusen,Charlton,hmmmm.The fans?
      The thing is they are the minority,tv and sponsors pay big Money now.something has to give.

  3. When we can only command 26% of the ball at old trafford there is something wrong at united.if we want to be a worlds biggest club then we need to build teams just as good as the spanish and german clubs.moyes can not do that.

  4. This performance only has this much credit due to the fact that our season has been sooo poor. Old Trafford has lost its fear cus of moyes.

    i will keep saying this because its the truth, Carrick is not really world class. He doesn’t command the ball, against Bayern he was always chasing, defenders were solid, midfield did nothing to defend. Kagawa helped position players to block off passing routes, but both Carrick and fellaini were dreadful in bossing the middle of the pitch.

    Carrick barely makes it into the England squad, and he would never start for any of europea other elites.

    i only feel we need one holding midfielder, attack has to be midfields main focus. We showed cs Bayern our defence can defend, and we just need one midfielder to help add more shape.

    Bayern are. Not very good defensively, they just kill u with possession.

    Madrid aren’t the beat defensively, just pace and precision and pure shot power.

    Utd can have a fast, skillful passing killer attack with a solid back 4!

    2nd leg i really want to see

    de gea
    jones smalling vidic buttner
    fletcher
    Valencia Kagawa nani/janujaz
    Rooney welbeck

    Rooney can drop deep, and nani/janujaz welbeck Valencia pace would be lethal to Bayern!

    we have to win or draw with more than 2 goals! We HAVE TO SCORE 2!!

    • Nani will get sent off.
      Januzaj will handle the ball, equals yellow card.

      Why not Evra play in the left midfield position?
      He will provide a nice cross. He is more than willing to attack than to defend nowadays. Plus he is an able defender and with Buttner, the left side will be contained.

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