We can't help but agree with one mailboxer who tries to calm the crisis-mongers gathering around Southampton, while we have mails on Man United's squad...
There is only just over a month left in the transfer window, but there remains plenty to be sorted out. Daniel Storey brings you ten questions, and fewer answers...
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Who Can Save United?
Ok look, I know most 'neutral' and opposing fans will probably be delighting in our sudden onset misery, but you would think our own board would not be so happy to indulge in the punishment.
I guess he will have until the end of the season to f**k us up as much as he can or maybe (unlikely) rescue the situation. But there are no signs of recovery, no good things to cling to.
Yes it's a bit dull to expect to win every game. But a struggling bottom of the league team at home is kind of the typical one you DO expect to get the points from. Moyes' reign is rapidly becoming a calamity and I honestly don't see us getting into any version of Europe, which is going to be a huge problem for rebuilding.
No Europe means no top midfielders, no top defenders, certainly no Cavani. It is getting to the point of desperately needing a change to steady the ship. Someone to caretaker till the end of the season at least.
There must be someone to answer the call?!
Guy S (knee jerk bad, non-response also bad)
Time To Go
Indefensible. Abject. Unacceptable. The statistics, I'm sure, will paint a better picture but the one that matters tells the real story.
Moyes' United is like a group of drunks trying to unlock a door; you get the feeling that they've done it before but right now not one of them has a clue how to do it. It's unbearably frustrating to watch and it's not getting any better.
To the people who will no doubt come out with the typical "he needs time" line: he needs to start showing us why he deserves it. I wouldn't trust Moyes with another transfer window because he's had two now and has wasted both by dithering. Even if he gets the players he wants, is it really going to improve to the required standard? Nothing less than a win was acceptable against the bottom placed side and we couldn't even manage that.
"I don't know what we have to do to win." Well, I've got a pretty good idea of where we could start, Dave.
Bring Fergie Back?
At what point do the board at United cut their losses with Moyes and get a proper manager in to steady the ship? What happens if United get battered on Wednesday by a wounded Arsenal side? I honestly believe there's a good chance they'll get rid of him there and then if that happens, and Fergie brought in to steady the ship till the end of the season. It's not like Fergie has detached himself from them, he's at every game stinking up the place. I can see them going on a decent run if that transpires.
Football needs United to fall off their perch. Let's all pray plucky United can scrape a gutsy draw on Wednesday to save Moyes (for now).
What Does It Mean To Be A 'Real' Fan?
And so the cycle begins again. United fans complain about Moyes and other self-proclaimed 'real' fans getting on the high horse and putting down everyone else as 'plastics' who can f-off if they don't support the team no matter what.
Let me first clarify by saying that a lot of the United fans I know are reasonable and definitely don't think we have a god given right to win. Personally, I think United has won more than its fair share, at times deservedly and at times undeservedly. It is now our time to suffer taunts from others, be humble and accept the fact that maybe, United's era of dominance has finally ended. It is about time someone else becomes the top dogs. Having said that, I have to take issue with the arguments put forward about the notion of unconditional patience and support from the so-called 'real' fans. I've written 2-3 months ago on a similar theme (wasn't published though), but would like to say it again. Einstein once said, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a definition of insanity. The arguments put forward by the 'real' fans are sounding increasing as insane as Moyes' attacking tactics of 'get to the byline and cross'.
My view is that, even as United become a 2nd tier Europa League playing team, I will continue to support them no matter what. I will continue to do whatever completely unrelated superstitious things I may have to help them win matches (despite knowing it has absolute zero impact on the match!). However, I am truly unable to support Moyes as manager of United. He is regressing the team match by match (is he implementing any style or philosophy on the way the team should play?). I am supporting the team despite of him, despite of his lack of calibre (SAF has won titles and European trophies before he took over at United), despite of his lack of tactical nous and motivational skills ("let's see if we can cross the ball 100 times today boys", "we'll 'try' and win the next match), despite of his poor decision making (sacking the entire backroom staff and replacing them with Everton's and Phil f-ing Neville, 4m more for Fellaini, Ashley Young starting instead of Januzaj).
If Moyes was sacked tomorrow morning, I wonder how many of these 'real' fans will complain about their disappointment and frustration on the lack of patience granted to him, because in their heart of hearts, I suspect they all know that Moyes has never been and never will be the right man for the job.
Frankie (would Moyes be hired if he was English/Irish/Welsh?)
The only advice I can offer to David Moyes is thus. 'Fergie Time', You're doing it wrong!
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Definition Of Insanity
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...
I really don't see why Moyes insists on treating the central third of the pitch in the opposition's half as if it were rigged with landmines - especially now that he has Juan Mata, as well as Kagawa and Rooney who can get on the ball and create something in those areas (not to open the can of worms that is Marouane Fellaini).
The other thing I don't get is why we don't seem to have any coherent plan in order to actually get on to the end of crosses. In the Ronaldo years (and the year after he left, in fact), we were exceptionally consistent in getting crosses in to the box on the ground, and meeting them on the 6 yard line. If everyone's on the same page - wingers/wing backs aiming for the same target and strikers looking to get in the same place, surely we might actually make something out of the insane number of balls that we put in the box.
Chris (actually laughed out loud when the first Fulham goal went in), Manc
Oh god, that face on your homepage. David, please do the right thing: go to the Options menu, select - 'Go on Holiday', and just go and make a cup of tea or something and come back for the summer once the results have automatically generated.
City Had The Worst Result
So after a weekend where Chelsea were undoubtedly the biggest winners, which of the other 3 (Arsenal/City/United) had the poorest result?
On the face of it it will no doubt seem like the 5-1 thrashing to Liverpool was the worst BUT was it really as bad as failing to beat struggling Norwich or Fulham ?
Does the loss to Liverpool damage Arsenals title aspirations more than picking up a 'banker' 3 points? I mean Arsenal were heavy odds against to win, and ultimately they lost to a seriously good attacking display from a team that just clicked on the day. You could say that they almost had little chance as before they knew it they were 2 nil down and as much as you can argue some bullcrap about zonal defending, basically minutes into the game 1 excellent set piece and another excellent header saw Arsenal reeling and chasing the game. After that Liverpool just fired on.
I think City's draw after losing to Chelsea is more damaging. No pundits would have imagined this result and it really is two points thrown away.
Similarly United draw against Fulham in terrible form is possibly the worst of the 3. More points thrown away in a chase for Champions League places and credibility for the clubs name. Both of which could have long term impacts in the transfer market when trying to rebuild.
Considering both Chelsea and City must still travel to Liverpool, the scoreline of the Arsenal game should not actually matter (apart from the goal difference aspect of course).
At the end of the day Arsenal and Liverpool are exceeding expectations this season. United are floundering. City and Chelsea were the only two realistically given any chance of winning. Yet with 13 games to it really is anyone's game for the title.
As an Arsenal fan i'm annoyed with the result, a little disappointed in Ozil lately and frustrated with the injuries to Ramsey and suspension of Flamini but that is part and parcel of the season. I didnt buy into the need for a striker in January as I would rather a TOP quality one be bought in the summer and continue to rely on the squad that has the team top of the league after 2/3 of the season.
Looking forward to an interesting clash at the Emirates next with united. Must win game for both sides.
Hatim (For both 'Thunderdbastard' the noun and verb please refer Luis Suarez), A.
I saw something which concerned me yesterday: when Townsend came on he was replacing Eriksen, a completely different type of player (polar opposite in attacking ambition) but it seemed Townsend had to ask which side of the pitch he would be playing, asking "Here?" whilst pointing to the ground on that side.
Surely replacing one provider with a completely different (theoretical) provider requires a strategy revision where Townsend would have been briefed before entering the pitch? Or did Sherwood hear Redknapp's infamous instructions to Pavlyuchenko's translator and treat them as Gospel?
Maybe I'm being too harsh on Sherwood and Townsend just wasn't listening beforehand.
Another comment about David Moyes, as if the world needs any more comments.
But it strikes me that after most games this season, all Moyes can talk about is the 'DNA', the 'history' of Manchester United, as if he is being forced to play with wingers bombing forward, bypassing midfield, leaving gaps all over the pitch.
I can't work out if he is using the 'DNA' of Manchester United as an excuse for his failure, or whether the fact that he is so scared of changing the 'DNA' is the reason for the failure. I strongly suspect the latter, and would suggest (as others no doubt have done) that until he realises that he is the manager, he is allowed to play however he wants, he can buy or sell whoever he wants (getting rid of the aging Vidic is good start) and he is the decision maker and not the retired scot in the directors box, he will continue to fail.
That's not to say however that changing the system and the way they play will necessarily bring about a marked upturn in performances. The midfield is still painfully non-existent and the defence is a mess. However, he has a better team and players than just the 'get the ball in the box' tactics he is currently using, tactics which are as basic as anything that Fat Sam gets abuse for.
Stuart 'has it stopped raining yet' Willsher, Colchester
My fellow Gooners aren't half a bunch of moaning ninnies.
Yes we were given a thrashing but these things happen in football. It doesn't make Rodgers a genius and Wenger a fool. We're well clear of Liverpool for a reason. The games have been catching up with the boys and these early afternoon kick-offs never do us any good.
As for Ozil - get off his back. He's an Arsenal player so let's just support him. It's United next and we and the team need to be as one. We probably won't win the league but they boys have given us a great go this season and we may still get ultimate revenge on the scousers by knocking them out of the cup.
I remember in the early to mid-1990s when we were always rubbish at Anfield and that was with the best defence we've ever had so to use the scouse refrain let's all "calm down, calm down."
Graham Simons, Gooner, (Still laughing at United), Norf London
...As expected, a huge over-reaction erupts after that mauling at Anfield. It's almost as if that loss wiped out everything else we've accomplished up till this point.
As disappointing as our performance was, I was thinking during the game that the worst outcome from the weekend was to be one point behind the league leaders. Lo and behold, that's exactly where we stand right now, the bonus being that we're somehow still ahead of the supposedly best attacking side in the league.
Yes, we were outfought and outplayed, but it's just three points dropped in a single game. No one game is going to decide the outcome of our season, regardless of who the opponent is. Losing to Pool lost us the same number of points as any of our previous losses to Villa, Man City, and Man United.
To summarise: NO, that's not the end of the title challenge. NO, that wasn't a MUST-WIN game. And NO, neither is the next, as much as the media like to hype things up. We're still ahead of our conquerors on the day and they would switch places with us in a heartbeat. Hell, 18 other teams would switch places with us in a heartbeat. If we remain consistently good over ALL games (not just the big ones), we'll still be in the title mix come the end of the season.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
Salt In Wounds
Rene on Utd "If you're well organised and the goalkeeper is in good positions to come and collect the ball, it can be easy [to defend against].
"You need a little bit of creativity and a bit of variety at times to open [teams] up. It was partly straight forward."
Is there a better way to rub salt on wounds ? Well played Rene, well played. Even opposition team manager knows that aimless crossing is worthless. Everyone does except, David.
Donnie, (81(18 successfull) crosses ! woosh) MUFC
I caught Match of the Day 2 last night and on there was a pundit who had been poured into the shirt of a 12 year old boy.
To paraphrase Clive James he looked like a pillow case stuffed full of oranges. Not only does he wear the shirt of a 12 year old boy he has said child's tactical insight and the inability to filter out the utter drivel that pours forth from the flapping hole surrounded by the mane of straw that purports to be his hair.
Every time another pundit speaks you can see him sitting there thinking "OOH OOH I have thought of something else" and he leaves a nanosecond before blurting out another vacuous opinion that last night caused Martin Keown's brow to furrow so much I was convinced the lines in his head where going to consume his eyebrows.
At least he sticks by his opinion and doesn't just flip flop after every single game changing it to suit the prevailing mood of the day. No wait the other one.
Neil (Yes really I'm just jealous because he's got more hair than me) Armitage, LFC