How Much Longer Should David Moyes Get at Manchester United?

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How Much Longer Should David Moyes Get at Manchester United?
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On October 19th, Manchester United dropped two crucial points after conceding a sloppy late equaliser in an eminently winnable home game (sound familiar?).

That draw with Southampton left United eight points off leaders Arsenal, in eighth place after eight Premier League games and, at the time, I wrote a few words posing the question of how long David Moyes should be allowed to get things right at Manchester United. The Scot had suffered an awful start, but not for a second was I suggesting that he should have been sacked at the time. He had to be given the chance to get things right.

The point I made, though, is that if it's approaching the business end of the season and United are in serious danger of missing out on Champions League qualification, then should questions start to be asked over Moyes' suitability to manage Manchester United?

This is now where we find ourselves. It is hard to believe, considering how bad his start was, that things have gone from bad to worse. To much worse. To really, terribly worse.

It seems, then, like a reasonable time to once again discuss how long he should be given to get it right (not that me or anyone else has actually stopped doing so in the time in between of course).

I have spent what seems like the better part of the last six months of my life arguing about Moyes. And in that time, I have found that those who still vociferously support the former Everton boss generally pose one of two main arguments.  

There is the "Fergie Defence," which is the argument of how long Sir Alex Ferguson was given at Old Trafford before he won anything. And there is the "Squad Defence," which is the argument that Moyes inherited a painfully average squad and deserves the chance to rebuild.  

For me, neither argument really holds any water. Firstly, there is no point even beginning to compare eras between now and 1986 when Ferguson first took over. Football has changed insurmountably in that time.

And as for the poor state of the squad, there are some, such as Daniel Harris of The Guardian, who have even gone as far as to blame Ferguson for it, which is equally absurd. 

For Ferguson, this squad was good enough to win the Premier League last season at an absolute canter. Why should it be his fault if Moyes cannot get the same out of them? That is what he was brought in to do, and it is something that he has so far failed wholeheartedly to achieve.

And it's not as if he hasn't had the time to do anything about it. Moyes has had two transfer windows to bring in fresh blood and has made a bit of a hash of it twice.

Whilst questions remain over whether the first of his big signings, Marouane Fellaini, is good enough to play for Manchester United, you cannot argue that the way he was managed by Moyes before he got injured was anything short of horrific. He was given no run in the team, no chance to establish himself and was afforded absolutely no confidence from his manager. 

Juan Mata has managed three assists in as many appearances since his arrival, but any opportunity for him to have an impact on the team as a whole will remain hindered if Moyes continues to insist on turgid, one-dimensional displays

United have always been a crossing team, but there is a limit. If you ever wondered how many crosses is too many for one game, Sunday afternoon will probably have answered your question. It's 82, as per FourFourTwo

It takes some doing to have Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj (bemusingly overlooked in the past couple of games for the depressingly useless Ashley Young) at your disposal and still look lacking in ideas upfront. Aside from two games against Bayer Leverkusen, it is hard to think of a game in which United have actually attacked well this season. 

The Red Devils now sit nine points off fourth-placed Liverpool. It is a mathematically surmountable gap, but it looks more and more unlikely with every passing week that it will ever be made up. Champions League qualification (surely Moyes' minimum requirement at the start of the season?) looks a desperately long way off and even Olympiakos are looking like pretty scary opponents right now.

Yes, the squad isn't the best, and yes, replacing Ferguson was always going to be a nigh on impossible task. But the league title is gone and Champions League qualification is getting further and further out of reach. Something has to be done. 

For Moyes now, it is simply a case of attempting to show one tiny shred of proof that he is the man to take Manchester United forward. He needs to provide some evidence that he is the man to continue the rebuild in the summer. Because, right now, he is failing dismally in every single area.

 

 

 

 

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