The Problems Behind Moyes’ United Reign

October 21, 2013 7:16 pm

David MoyesAdnan Januzaj’s double salvo against Sunderland has allayed Manchester United David Moyes related fears, but problems are still blighting his troubled reign.

Having started his Manchester United career safe in the knowledge that he had the backing of the great Sir Alex Ferguson, with pundits dubbing him as ‘the chosen one’. Moyes had task of building on Sir Alex’s reign with an already world-class squad capable of mounting a credible title challenge for another year, but Moyes’ tenure has been anything but plain sailing for the Scotsman with his side lying a lowly 12th in the league, behind newly promoted sides Cardiff and Hull, as well as 8 points adrift of table-topping Arsenal who signalled their intentions by pinching German playmaker Mesut Ozil from United’s grasps on deadline day.

On the topic and deadline day, and the transfer window in general, United had a poor one. Shawn of the tough negotiating skills of Chief Executive David Gill and the worldwide influence that Ferguson brought, David Moyes and new chief Ed Woodward looked out of their depth with Marouane Fellaini the only major signing brought in for 4m more than his buyout clause. United’s title-winning campaign of last season was defined by their strong transfer window, capturing Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa from Arsenal and Dortmund respectively ,while their crosstown rivals Manchester City were caught flagging, failing to capture any of their first choice targets. It was here where the Premier League was decided, the lesson of strengthening when on top was always a point Ferguson hammered home and after a dismal transfer window, United are already on the back foot.

There is also the problem of a strong creative source in middle of midfield, especially in this day and age as the rest of the traditional top four move to a more passing oriented game. Shinji Kagawa looks the man to fill this void but Moyes’ preference to place Wayne Rooney behind Van Persie leaves Kagawa to play make awkwardly from a left midfield role unsuited to his qualities. This has left United lacking ideas in the attacking third of the pitch resulting in less goals being scored – Januzaj’s goal against Sunderland was their first goal from open play since the opening day win at Swansea. This goal-scoring problem will surely hinder them greatly when it comes to the Champions League where the robust defences of the likes of Barcelona and Bayern will provide a stern challenge. Although this problem is something that needs to quickly sorted, the fluidity in the finfred-the-red mascotal third will come with time as United adjust to their new manager.

The third problem directly comes from Moyes himself. His archaic 4-4-2 formation, which is employed in part to keep Wayne Rooney happy, after he had voiced his angers about playing in a deeper midfield role under Ferguson, is outdated. This was especially telling in the 1-0 loss to Liverpool earlier in the season where United were outfought and outpassed by the Brendan Rogers’ midfield three. And in an age, where carefully planned tactics usually prosper (especially in Europe) it is high time that Moyes adapted his philosophies – if he wants to survive.

And while there’s no denying that United have stuttered during the early stages of the season there are a few positives to be drawn going forward, namely the emergence of Januzaj as well as the club’s solid European form. Moyes will hope to use these two factors as a springboard in which to launch United’s season.

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