Manchester United has drawn Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals, but David Moyes can still prove he is capable of leading the Red Devils into the future with a strong showing against the defending champions.
According to Miguel Delaney of espnfc.com, club sources say the boardroom at Manchester is open to the possibility of replacing Moyes. The embattled manager has seen United's esteemed status take a hit under his command, as his team is just seventh in the Premier League table and in danger of missing out on both Champions League and Europa League competition next season, lucrative competitions for any European club.
Manchester United will be overwhelming underdogs against Bayern Munich, but Moyes has plenty of experience in that position.
Moyes can call upon the giant-killing mentality he employed at Everton, where he consistently steered the team to winning seasons in the Premier League despite a shoestring budget. His fourth place, Champions League-qualifying finish with Everton in 2004-2005 and the run to the FA Cup final in 2009 are just two such examples of Moyes' ability to make do with lesser talent.
Despite reaching the quarterfinals of the toughest competition in European soccer, Manchester United under Moyes are slighted at every turn.
Moyes' biggest weakness heading into this season with Manchester United was his utter lack of Champions League experience. This is why his results against Bayern are so important.
Manchester United still features world-class attacking talent in Juan Mata (although he is cup-tied due to his transfer from Chelsea this season), Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, with the latter picking up a hat-trick in United's 3-0 victory over Olympiakos that took them into the quarterfinals.
Van Persie was carried off with a knee injury after that game, and his availability for Manchester United will be key to attacking success against Bayern. The fragile Dutchman has 14 goals in 23 appearances this season, and Moyes can use the creativity of Rooney and Mata to get van Persie chances in the penalty box against Bayern.
According to David McDonnell of www.mirror.co.uk, Rooney and van Persie connected just five times in Manchester's 2-0 loss to Olympiakos in the first tie of the round of 16, and their inability to play together is part of Moyes' failings.
Which player is most crucial to Manchester United's success against Bayern Munich?
If Moyes can find a way to get these two players to work together consistently, their ability to both play as false-nine strikers could make for some interesting exchanges against Bayern. It would also demonstrate his ability to work with his players and make tactical changes when necessary.
Victory may be too much to ask of any team against Bayern Munich this season, but a strong showing by Manchester United would be enough to prove to fans and boardroom members alike that the fearless Moyes is the leader they need to ensure the future success of their beloved club.