David Moyes NEEDS to go. Period. (That is all the introduction required.)
No, wait. The aforementioned horse isn’t high anymore. You can barely see its head in the pile of shit that Moyes has brought.
In a season of listless performances, he has managed to drive United into a state where Alan Pardew is able to sound condescending when speaking of United. He has turned champions into players who fear beginning an attack for fear of failing in their attempt. He has presumably told them to let go of any aspect of tactical planning and would have us believe that “it takes a football mind to understand United’s tactics”. Well David, that leaves you out doesn’t it on account of being an absolute nitwit who has no idea how to manage a club of United’s stature.
But let’s take a step back from the vitriol which if allowed to run wild would form a modern masterpiece on its own. Let’s look at what Moyes has done in his short disastrous, pathetic, awful, fucking shitty, hope sapping, life sapping, homicide and suicide inducing (Oops! The Vitriol wins) tenure. Let’s analyze what he has done and whether he deserves a good long run at the helm.
Moyes and Ed Woodward combined to be absolutely awful (word of the day) in the summer transfer market. From signing players for more than their erstwhile release clauses to bidding late for players to not chasing simultaneous targets in an era where you can send multiple emails from your phone, it was terrible and frightful for United. Moyes failed to adequately strengthen the one area that required more than the signing of Fellaini. The result has been that United have been constantly overrun in midfield. Not only did he fail to strengthen but his failure to even play his midfield with a semblance of a plan except to play triangles with the central defenders is infuriating.
Moyes presumably sat and watched videos of United and picked at the fact that United like playing with width. He then shut down the projector assuming that from there the only logical conclusion is crossing. What he absolutely misses out on is that width can be used without actually needing to cross the ball every time you get it to your wide man. It was used by vintage and even not so vintage United sides to stretch defenses and pull players out of position. This in turn led to space for willing midfield runners to arrive late in and around the box. These runs can then be capitalized upon by playing the appropriate pass or cross. Moyes seems to believe that simply crossing the ball into van Persie or Rooney when the opposition defense is well organized and most of them have central defenders built like brick shithouses (for the uninitiated it means big, strong, tall and generally someone you would not fight) who would be more than happy to out-muscle and out-duel people in the air. Moreover, his wingers with the glorious exception of Adnan Januzaj and now Juan Mata (who is not supposed to be played there David. He is a magnificent No. 10) have only trick such as Valencia’s knock ball ahead-run after it-shank it with force without direction or Young’s um, er, uh,…. aha! Diving. Oh. Right. That is not football. What’s that you said? Broadway is impressed by his sincerity and dedication to his live performances and want him to audition.
Moyes does not know what his best team is. He has no idea what that is. No idea of the concept of one. He has chosen to build his team around a strike force of Rooney and van Persie which seems right if you get enough service to them and have players who allow for quick exchanges and use space well. Instead, Moyes insists on playing Young and Valencia who are woeful. Valencia has been average at times and maybe deserves to be a squad player but Young is uninspiring, cannot cross well and does not link up well enough. The best United front four need Januzaj and Mata on either flank given his fixation on Rooney. We will come to this bit of partial idiocy in a bit.
But let’s look at what his midfield options are. Carrick is the only certainty but expecting him to work as two people is simply not going to work when you put passengers such as Cleverley who is NOT good enough to be playing for a side with aspirations of being in the top half of the Premier League. His use of Fellaini has been without plan. He has no idea how whoever is partnering Carrick should operate. Indeed, it was only last week against Crystal Palace that he finally got it right by asking Fellaini to play box-to-box rather than have his front four do all the attacking. January came and went and Moyes still did not attempt to fix his midfield problem which was exposed time and again by Cleverley getting on to the pitch. Phil Jones might be a decent defensive midfielder but he is not a box-to-box player and does not bring anything to the offensive side of United’s game. If you contrast this with any other side in the top 7 this season, they all have midfielders who link up with and add to the attack. United have lacked this all season. All of said midfielders also perform their defensive duties. Whether its Matic and Ramires (Chelsea), Toure and Fernandinho (City), Flamini and Ramsey/Wilshere/Rosicky/Arteta (Arsenal), Gerrard, Henderson and Lucas (Liverpool), Barry and James McCarthy (Everton) or Paulinho and Sandro/Dembele/Bentaleb (Spurs), all of them fulfill the aforementioned criteria. With the possible exception of James McCarthy (not of that level) and Nabil Bentaleb (too raw), all of the above would stroll into the United team. This problem can be attributed to Ferguson but whereas he had his aura and tactical nous to counter a weak midfield, Moyes has none of these.
Moyes has lined up Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos as solutions to the midfield conundrum. Why would any of these two or the myriad United transfer targets want to play for United who look like they will not even play in Europe. One could have said Ferguson would be a draw. But can one realistically imagine them wanting to play for someone so uninspiring as Moyes? We can’t. We’ve mailed Emily Blunt and she might reply to us favourably rather than Kroos playing for Moyes.
Many former players and pundits have come out in support of Moyes. They say that he needs to be given the time to fulfill his potential. They say that he needs a second season to really excel. They point to Ferguson’s difficult start as United manager and further to some moral high ground that United will continue to keep if they don’t think “short term”. All of these are just desperate attempts at justifying what was a wrong decision from the go. Ferguson was a multiple title winner who had won many domestic honours and had conquered Europe with Aberdeen in the 1980’s. He came to United when United were hovering just above mid-table and he had to be afforded the time to rebuild not only the team but also instil a mentality befitting a club of this stature. Moyes has won nothing. His record against top teams is pathetic. He managed Everton well given the resources but that only proves that he cannot extract more than the sum of its parts (cliche! The blog apologizes) from his teams. He did not have the credentials to manage United when he was given the job and cannot claim them at all now. There is no conceivable reason why he deserves a second chance after this season. The so called high ground is really the place where clubs go when they want to die. Its admirable to stick with your choice but stupid when it is clearly not working. Practicality must be a consideration and not some hyped up moralistic standard.
Moyes may in fact prove all his detractors wrong and may turn out to be brilliant. Or he will be continue to be awful. The real question is whether United is the stage where his saga must play out. We believe that there is nothing that merits a yes as the answer to that question and Moyes has to go. Triage is a necessity before its too late. There is no lack of good alternatives. Louis van Gaal is available and he has a stellar record with top clubs across Europe. Whisper it, but Villas Boas is an outside bet. The excellent Roberto Martinez deserves poaching. Guus Hiddink will be without any team soon. United need to move and move quickly or they face a lengthy spell away from the top.
This article is largely reactionary but that does not detract from the truth of the analysis. Moreover, there are several factors that may have not been given their due. But this is a blog and not a book on How Not to Manage a Club.
Those of us who support United will probably end up killing ourselves. Or Moyes. Not even the beautiful and brilliant Emily Blunt could make us feel good at this point. Well, maybe a little.
(The image has been taken under the Creative Commons License from the flickr user Hasegawa Takashi and may be found here)