Manchester United Versus Everton Means More Than Just Moyes Versus Martinez

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentDecember 3, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: David Moyes manager of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League Match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on December 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

David Moyes will have expected his progress at Manchester United to be measured in games against the Premier League's big boys.

Fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool—the traditional title challengers—are a good measuring stick for a team that's in transition post-Ferguson.

But after Moyes' move to Old Trafford this summer, another team can be added to the list—his former club Everton.

There are two ways of looking at Moyes' 11-year reign at Goodison Park. 

Either Everton, with one fourth-place finish and an FA Cup final appearance, overachieved under the Scot. Or, with one fourth-place finish and an FA Cup final, he failed to unlock their potential.

In a way, Moyes' time at Everton can only be properly assessed now that he's gone. In the same way, Sir Alex Ferguson's success at United will be put into context by Moyes.

Everton, now managed by Roberto Martinez, are the visitors at Old Trafford this week. 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Wigan manager Roberto Martinez gestures as Everton manager David Moyes looks on during the FA Cup Sixth Round match between Everton and Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park on March 9, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Mich
Michael Regan/Getty Images

There are similarities between the two men, both taking over from long-serving managers and neither enjoying the full support of the fan base when their appointments were announced in the summer.

Thirteen games into the new season, Everton sit two points and three places above United. They've lost just once all season, to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, and have beaten Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Asked about the job Martinez was doing at Everton, and reported by the Manchester Evening News, Moyes said the Spaniard was doing well to "keep it going".

He is doing a very good job. He has very good players there. I always told them they could play without a manager because they are very well organised.

But Roberto is doing a really good job keeping it going.

But there will be plenty of Everton fans who think Martinez is doing a little better than that. 

Everton at home is a tricky fixture for Moyes. 

As manager of Everton, he never won in the league at Anfield, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford or the Emirates/Highbury in 46 attempts. Should Martinez achieve it this season, it will throw Moyes' record into sharp focus, especially as United have already lost at Liverpool and Manchester City this season.

If Everton do win at Old Trafford this week, even if Everton finish above United this season, it doesn't mean Moyes was the wrong man to replace Ferguson. He paid his dues and earned his chance.

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 24:  David Moyes the Manchester United manager looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Manchester United at Cardiff City Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Ge
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

But, like the Wayne Rooney transfer saga in the summer and Ferguson's book launch, it would be another unwelcome footnote. And it would be more fuel for the doubters who didn't expect United to be eighth in the table in December, nine points off the top.

Moyes, though, will be unconcerned about the happenings at Goodison Park. Like it's Martinez's job to emulate and surpass Moyes' achievements at Everton, it's Moyes' job to do the same with his predecessor at United.  

And after all the comparisons between two men in new jobs, for Moyes, victory over Everton will be just another step on that long journey—and a way to keep the doubters quiet for another week at least.