Marouane Fellaini Overshadowed by Victor Wanyama in the Battle of the New Boys
There was always going to be a hangover after Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down at Manchester United.
But, it's dragging on a bit longer than was hoped.
The fixture list wasn't kind to David Moyes, throwing up early games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, but this was a run of games that was meant to allow United to get back to normality.
October is not the time to panic. But Moyes should be concerned that they're already eight points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
More results like the 1-1 draw with Southampton at Old Trafford, and their Premier League title ambitions are going to start looking unrealistic.
It's not helping Moyes that his big summer signing is playing poorly.
Winning 1-0 against Southampton, he was forced to do the same.
It's not often that a manager will take off a holding midfielder when his team are defending a slim lead, but Moyes has done exactly that in Fellaini's last two appearances.
You could argue that, as United ended up drawing both those games, the finger of blame should point at Moyes for making two poor decisions.
But, it hints that Fellaini's performances haven't been up to scratch when the United manager needed him most.
It won't have been lost on the United fans inside Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon that Fellaini was up against another central midfielder who swapped clubs this summer.
One cost £27.5 million. The other £12.5 million.
Unfortunately for Fellaini, it was Victor Wanyama who played like he had cost £15-million more.
He patrolled in front of Southampton's back four like a well-drilled century, showing both his bite in the tackle and a comfortable touch when he was on the ball.
United needed a player like that this summer.
And, the groans from the Stretford End every time Fellaini gave the ball away or a black shirt jinked-by him suggested they would have happily swapped the Belgian for Wanyama then and there.
Fellaini already had his doubters even before he pulled on a red shirt for the first time.
Some fans felt that in a summer in which they had been linked with Rolls-Royce players like Cesc Fabregas, they had ended up with an overpriced pick-up truck.
Fellaini will get time to prove he's good enough to be a United player. Just as Moyes will get time to show he's a capable replacement for Ferguson.
But, it's not going to stop fans from demanding an improvement sooner rather than later.
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