What Beating Bayern Munich Would Mean for David Moyes' Manchester United Future

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01:  Pep Guardiola head coach of Bayern Muenchen scratches his head during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Bayern Muenchen at Old Trafford on April 1, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Every time that Manchester United have put on a good show during this season of discontent and false starts, you feel compelled to believe that the next defeat is just around the corner.

Not even a year into his tenure, David Moyes has had more false dawns than the Red Devils care to remember, and it is for this reason why a culture of distrust has built up quickly between the manager and the faithful. 

Since January 1, United have only won seven league matches, losing five times and drawing twice, per Squawka.

It is a run of form that has guaranteed that United simply could not compete for a top four place. Yet today the club only lie seven points behind fourth place Arsenal with a better goal difference than the Gunners, per BBC Sport.

Even a slightly improved performance would have seen United eat into those seven points with ease and would see Moyes comfortably making the Champions League for next season.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Juan Mata of Manchester United (L) celebrates with team mate Marouane Fellaini after scoring their first goal while Manager David Moyes (R) of Manchester United reacts during the Barclays Premier League match betwe
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

However, achieving just one point from a possible 21 in the seven Old Trafford home games against West Brom, Southampton, Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City tells its own story.

If United had won all of those matches as they might have done in recent years, they would be on the verge of title No. 21 in the coming weeks, well ahead of the the chasing pack. 

As a result of this failure, Moyes has been looking for sweet salvation from other places rather than the weekly capturing of three points for a win. 

The bonus of Adnan Januzaj's youthful presence has allowed United fans the excitement of revelling in a new talent.

The transfer of Juan Mata was an expensive yet needed boost in the arm, just when it felt that the Reds were no longer competing for territory with the other tough kids in the playground. 

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United (R) shoots past goalkeeper Robert Elliot of Newcastle United to score his team's fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester Unit
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

But it has been the Champions League that has given United fans the most hope.

And last week we saw what a Manchester United team under David Moyes could really do. 

United were both equally chastised and congratulated for their "Dogs of War" performance against the widely regarded best football team on the planet. 

Many felt Moyes and his boys parked the bus, and the statistics support this with Bayern achieving a 65 percent possession rate on the night, per Squawka.

But stats can lie.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01:  Franck Ribery of Bayern Muenchen walks off at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Bayern Muenchen at Old Trafford on April 1, 2014 in Manchester
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

United had more shots on target than their glamorous German opposition and arguably deserved the win. 

The team battled a superior opponent as it once would have done under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, giving every drop of blood and sweat for the 70,000 Reds screaming for them at Old Trafford.

And Bayern Munich, a team who in recent memory beat Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate, could not break down a side that lies seventh in England.

It was possibly Moyes' greatest night as a manager in his career. He took on Pep Guardiola and his wonderful Bavarian purists and he did not look out of place in their company. 

It was the first time that Moyes has looked tactically perfect, and he did it against his biggest challenge yet. 

Wednesday sees the return leg of the fixture and almost certain defeat for United and Moyes. 

But where the bookies believed that this tie would be over during some point of the first-leg, there is less conviction of a slaughtering in this match.

For United are a better team on the road. They enjoy the shackles of Old Trafford being broken from their bodies, and they, statistically speaking at least, are the best away side in the Premier League. 

Going to Munich will not scare Moyes and his team and like the gambler with the dice in his hands, where failure is expected success is made all the more sweeter, Moyes knows he cannot lose on this specific throw.

Losing heavily would be disappointing but not reprehensible. Not against this side of superstars. 

A defeat would be expected and Moyes will be able to hold his head high having given Pep a run for his money.

But a victory for United would see Moyes' stock sky rocket through the roof of the football casino. It would represent his ground zero moment, where all the dials are reset to zero and the ghost of a terrible season exorcised in one swoop.

According to Mark Ogden of The Telegraph, Wayne Rooney is winning his battle to be present for the game in Munich, but his presence will not be what wins or loses the match for Moyes.

The Scotsman needs to go with the same tactics he played in the first leg: Play with a solid and pressing five across midfield and leave one up top to support a counter attack.

If Moyes and United get their algebra and trigonometry correct again, and they rely on Danny Welbeck's speed to run at Bayern's defence, then a miracle can happen at the Allianz Arena.

A victory for Moyes will be worth more to his reputation and approval ratings than an extra £50 million in the transfer kitty for the summer.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 01:  Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United closes down Javi Martinez of Bayern Muenchen during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Bayern Muenchen at Old Trafford on April 1, 20
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

He is slowly proving that he can get the most from Shinji Kagawa, a player who was the scourge of Munich during his time in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund

He is proving that he is learning from the multitude of mistakes he has made tactically this season, allowing his flair players to play with more freedom than in recent months, while still keeping the discipline his Evertonian teams were famous for in years gone by.

A win in Germany will finally give Moyes some validation, something he has not yet achieved this season.

And that validation will allow him to keep his job during what will be the biggest rebuilding programme ever undertaken at Old Trafford, during this summer. 


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