Man City were punished for failing to turn up against Wigan. They improved in the final half-hour, but complacency is becoming a recurring problem for Manuel Pellegrini...
He might have been rendered 'unfashionable' even as they bought him, but Marouane Fellaini showed Manchester United why they bought him against West Brom, says Adam Bate...
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Starting Off With A Newcastle Mail
Not too shabby for a wee club from the north east. Not too shabby atall.
See What You Did There
What to say about United? Personally, despite some criticism from a few fans, I have been very impressed with United this season. Some very solid displays, good results and the manager getting his tactics spot-on for most of the games.
Manchester United have been utter pants, mind.
Everyone is blaming Moyes (deservedly) but where is the anger at the man who decided that Moyes was the man to manage the Club?
Where are those stepping up to say Ferguson Out?
Eric Breitman, Spurs (better to focus on someone else's problems than one's own), NYC
In Defence Of Moyes, From A Gooner
No hidden agenda, no counter-pyshological tactics involved. Here I am, as an Arsenal fan defending David Moyes.
In regards to the recent decline of Man United in the Premier League, if anyone is to blame, it's the players themselves. They have not improved. (Anderson, nani, welbeck, cleverly, Young, etc etc etc...) They are relying TOO MUCH on RVP - since last season. When they were losing, it was often RVP who came to their rescue. But that is a one-off season. He can't be doing that every match now.
Man Utd's midfielders and other forwards have not stepped up. Moyes is a fair manager. He has been giving almost everyone a chance in all these matches. Even Fellani is not his 'favorite' pick.
So there again, blame the players themselves.
And remember, I'm not even a Man Utd or Fergie fan. I am speaking what I believe is the truth.
G.F.N. - Singapore (Arsene knows. How else can you explain Nicky Bendtner's goal?)
I'm sure you have been inundated already with United fans, both those frothing at the mouth and those shouting 'plastic' at any fan with the audacity to question his own club. However, I just have a question for both fellow reds and neutrals (and bitter rivals I guess). Now there is little doubt that we have far from the best squad of players in the league and of course, however you rate Moyes, there were always going to be teething problems. But, watching United today made me think there has to be something else. They play like a side who don't really know what they're doing. Maybe they've had their confidence destroyed by persistent negativity in the media, but my hunch is that they don't believe in Moyes. The players are just as culpable if that really is the issue, but it's not a situation that can easily be changed. It mightn't even be a conscious thing. So finally to my question: if this is the problem, how long do we give Moyes? I, as much as anyone, want him to get a fair opportunity, but some problems just can't be fixed by time.
Ok, so, with the Newcastle game now over, I think we've reached that point. I hate hasty reactions but this is fully evidence based now.
I'm getting the impression that Sir Alex underrated himself... I'm thinking that he felt that as long as you have good players and a reasonable tactic, that should be enough to win most games. Certainly in the league, if not the cups.
And I'm thinking he figured that Moyes was a mini-me, and could just carry on his good work. He's safe, not going to do anything crazy or rock the financial or reputational boat, a reasonable judge of players. Solid. Safe. Consistent. Just like him.
Clearly this ain't so. Moyes is no Sir Alex. He lacks Sir Alex's inbuilt drive to win that kept him in the role so long, his innate footballing knowledge (and most importantly the knowledge of how to have succeed, to win), his motivational abilities, even his relatively limited tactical prowess.
Instead, Moyes is average. And I'm afraid he's simply not good enough for United. I hate knee jerk reactions but it's clear he's not up to the challenge and needs to go before a rot sets in to Sir Alex's legacy that can't be easily cleaned out. I don't think it was a plan to make himself look good, merely that he undervalued his effect on a team. And without him, the team looks rudderless.
Which is ironically why Rooney is doing so much better now. Because he's just been asked to do what he does, without any tactical or positional expectation placed on him.
But as to the future, it really is time to ship. I'm sorry David, I was willing to give you the chance, even though I (like most) never wanted you, but you have blown it and all the good will. Time to walk. Please do the honourable thing. If not, please find the guts to sack him.
If we can tempt Klopp we should and give him the tools to topple Bayern. And do it as soon as we can.
We don't have to look too far away to see what happens if you wait too long under the wrong man.
Guy S (I honestly thought it couldn't go as bad as this)
...* How impressive was Davide Santon? Very impressive with ball at his feet going forward, lot of confidence defensively, both he and Debuchy showed great positional awareness when defending Man Utd counter attacks, often following runners from wide deep into the box to break up the play.
* So you've got £28m to spunk on a defensive midfielder, was anyone wondering why Man Utd didn't look at Tiote? Some will argue he was awful last season but that was only true as Cabaye was injured and Tiote was trying to do too much. Fellaini earned praise playing as an attacking midfielder and moved to play in a totally different position for Man Utd.
* So you're 0-1 down, you're feeling the pressure and now you throw on a young winger and finally give him a chance? Great man management there from Moyes with Zaha. His performance showed a lot of naïveté, giving away fouls and overplaying the ball but who can blame him when expected to change a game at such a critical moment.
* A decade since Man Utd lost two home games in a row without scoring. Incredibly amusing given the nearly guaranteed shit storm that will inevitably follow.
* The top places are very close at the moment, but how far behind can Man Utd afford to fall? Spurs have been terrible too but have kept themselves around there. Can utd really outperform Everton, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and Spurs into the end of the season? Spurs should improve in the next few months, Liverpool and the others could slip but it's hard to see Man Utd finishing top 4 for me.
* I remember in Benitez's last season I thought that Liverpool would claw it back, that they would get back into the top 4 and it would all be ok. It wasn't. And it hasn't been since. We fell from 2nd to 7th in one season and the changes were subtle; no more Alonso, Johnson replacing Arbeloa and our performances fell off a cliff. For Man Utd maybe they're guilty of not sorting out their weaknesses from last season.
* In a world where Man Utd don't have the Champions League next season - which players stick around? I imagine Rooney leaves, RVP will only have one or two more seasons to play for a top team so leaves too, but will the rebuilding process be so easy without Champions League football to attract the stars they've been able to buy in the past? Dortmund and Liverpool will tell you that building with youth is a slow and difficult thing to do (we still aren't remotely there obviously)
We know how important confidence is for players. A striker who doesn't score goals is low on confidence. A goal keeper who is bullied in the box will lack confidence to come out and claim crosses. What we often forget about is what the rest of the team has to do to accommodate a player short of confidence. Does the non-scoring midfielder pass the ball to the striker who normally scores with ease but currently lacks confidence, or does he decide to have a go himself? Do defenders feel comfortable knowing that the keeper behind them may make a mess of a relatively straightforward cross? When one player on the field out of eleven is short of confidence, the manager can make a strategic move and replace this person to avoid disrupting the team. But what happens when the manager is the one lacking confidence? Moyes is looking more and more like he doesn't know what to do. And a manager lacking confidence affects the whole team. And so it can't come as a huge surprise that Man Utd has lost their collective confidence. When the captain of a ship doesn't know which way to steer the boat, the crew can't do much. So the question is....how does a club help restore the manager's confidence? Man Utd will continue to founder until Moyes gains some confidence. One can't help but think that Moyes transition to a club of Man Utd's stature would have been facilitated by keeping on the previous coaching staff while he settled into his new position. For now, the immediate priority has to be getting confidence back into Moyes so that the team can have confidence that their manager knows what he is doing. Only then will we see the "normal" Man Utd.
No More Cleverley. Please
It's close to HT at Old Trafford against Newcastle and I'm sure you've received f***tons of mails about this tiny dude, but I have to rant about Tom f***in Cleverley.
No more, please. In 36 minutes against Newcastle, he's shown why he can never succeed at United. This is a game United desperately need to win, this guy desperately needs a good performance or two or a hundred to prove he needs to be here. Newcastle are physically dominating the midfield and United's defence have no one to pass to. This f***tard walks around taking zero responsibility, watching Evans and Vidic struggle to maintain possession. They need someone to pass to and being better on the ball than Jones, he needs to be there. He isn't.
Newcastle now have the ball. Jones, Hernandez, Januzaj (half his size and six years younger), Nani, even a half-fit van Persie harry, press and try their best to get the ball, but against a 3-man Newcastle midfield, you need BOTH midfielders to press and get the ball back. Nope, zero f***ing responsibility.
Sell him, bring in a man half as talented as Cleverley (seriously, this guy has a devastating cross, keeps possession well, but could be so much more if he had heart) with twice the presence and United as a team would be much much better off.
Adi, Chicago (qué dice el zorro?)
Obligatory Moyes Needs Time Mail
I'm sure there will be even more MOYES OUT emails after the shocker we had earlier today (I'm typing this on Saturday evening and have just about got over the shock of it). I can understand it to an extent as we're as bad as I've seen us at the moment, having been fortunate enough to grow up as a 90s United fan and avoid the dark days of the 70s and 80s.
However I do think a lot of the calls for Moyes to leave are premature, despite the poor displays at present. The main thing people keep saying against Moyes is that this is the team that won the league under Fergie. Yes, that's true of course, but has anyone stopped to think that that's the main problem? These are all Fergie's players, who won many trophies under him, and have now experienced a major culture shock with a new man coming in, changing the whole backroom staff, giving them new ideas which they may not be particularly open to as they believe they know better because of all their medals etc. What Moyes needed was a few of his own signings who were brought to the club by him and were therefore loyal to him. Due to the massive cock-up we had in the summer, Moyes was not afforded this luxury (and again, how unfortunate was it for Moyes that not only was he replacing the greatest manager of all time, but the experienced chief executive also left at the exact same time only to be replaced by somebody who has never negotiated a transfer before).
I think Moyes should be judged on his ability to build a new team rather than squeeze some more success out of Fergie's team. Obviously he will need a few transfer windows to do this, as it's really looking like a big rebuilding job at the moment. I'd like to see young players given a chance (Powell and Lingard look good, albeit at Championship level) and lots of new signings coming in. I think fans would be more patient if they could see that it is a work in progress with new players being brought into the fold rather than the same players (ageing in many cases) being trotted out every week.
Of course, patience is in short supply in modern football and if things continue to go like this it's unlikely Moyes will be given time to build his own team, but I do think he ideally needs to do this before we can truly judge him. Fergie didn't do him any favours with his lack of midfield signings over the last few years either. Again we showed that without Carrick there is just nothing there in midfield.
Worrying times, but hopefully a new team will eventually emerge and restore us to our former greatness.
Tom - MUFC (Cheshire)
I imagine you will inundated with e-mails making this point but many moons ago when the debate was raging as to who should succeed SAF at United, those against Mourinho's appointment argued he would bring "instability" to the club. Now I don't know about the rest of you, but to me nothing says "instability" at United than being potentially 15 points off the lead by December.
Cathal, (amazed Moyes has managed to make Pardew's 8 year contract seem like good value) Dublin
Liverpool Fans' Christmas List. FAO Brendan Rodgers
Dear Brendan, we want a few simple things this Christmas:
1. A pair of shooting boots for Jordan, he can't kick snow off a stick.
2. Anabolic steroids for Joe Allen. I know it sounds drastic, but we have to do something with him.
3. Tell the media you hate David Moyes and that you don't feel threatened by United. With any luck they will persist with him as a result.
4. A clone of Stephen Gerrard. I'm not sure how far we are from achieving this, but I'd rather you spent £15 million pounds on this than on Joe Allen.
5. Don't pick Jon Flanagan, ever again.
6. Try not sounding like a dickhead.
7. Raheem Sterling is finished. Sell him before someone notices.
8. Don't tell anyone that you have a good feeling about where we will finish this year. We don't expect too much, you shouldn't either.
The entire Liverpool fanbase
Jose Needs X
We definitely are missing something. I don't know what/who it is. Let's just name it X, but something in this Chelsea attack is missing. I dunno if it's the right formation, or the right combination of players, but we're missing something. Something which I can't quite get my hands on.
And except everybody else somehow goes crazy too, we'd never win the League if we keep having games like the Stoke game. Loads of chances but we just can't convert, something in that attack isn't clicking.
Mourinho needs to find X fast. This stop-start form isn't great being a great experience for me
Plus we need our own Flamini. The defense isn't covered well enough. Ramires great as he is, isn't made for there. Mikel doesn't cut it in DM, Essien isn't it at all, Van Ginkel is injured (Oh I love that guy).
How much would Gustavo cost?