Where Did It All Go Wrong For Moyes?

Where did it all go wrong for David Moyes at Manchester United? We look at some of the games which cost him his job. Obviously we couldn't list all of them...

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David Moyes has been sacked as Manchester United manager. It comes as a result of a disastrously unsuccessful first season in charge in which the Scot presided over a spectacular fall from grace.

Sunday's defeat at former club Everton was United's 11th of the campaign and left the defending Premier League champions on a record low points tally, wallowing in seventh place and 23 points behind table-topping Liverpool.

It is United's worst season in living memory and, combined with an unconvincing style of play, seemingly no improvements and a lack of faith for the future, it led Old Trafford owners, the Glazer family, to act less than 12 months into Moyes' six-year contract as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Where did it all go wrong for Moyes, 'the chosen one', in losing the trust at United? We look at the five Premier League games which played a part in costing the 50-year-old his job.

MAN UNITED 0 CHELSEA 0 - 26TH AUGUST 2013
This was a game which set the tone for Moyes' reign in just their third game of the campaign. Chelsea were there for the taking but Moyes' United showed little adventure or attacking impetus against a team who had arrived at Old Trafford only looking for a draw.

Jose Mourinho had picked Andre Schurrle as his lone striker in a defensive line-up but Moyes seemed happy to play along in refusing to go for the jugular. In the final 15 minutes under Sir Ferguson, United would have been throwing the kitchen sink at Chelsea but Moyes played out a 0-0.

That style was not one to which United's fans were accustomed and it may have sewn early seeds of doubt. Perhaps, too, players were uncertain with the tactics and routine. Whatever the case, it was not working and it set United on a negative run which included defeats by Liverpool, Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion, along with a draw with Southampton, by mid-October.


MAN UNITED 2 FULHAM 2 - 9TH FEBRUARY 2014
Sandwiched between a wretched 2-1 defeat at Stoke City, a first league loss against Stoke since 1984, and a highly forgettable 0-0 stalemate at Arsenal, this draw was a reflection that all was far from well and that Moyes' tactics were sadly lacking.

United set a record of 81 crosses in the game but these were useless as Fulham's 6ft 7in centre-back, Dan Burn, comfortably dealt with the deliveries before the visitors, who were bottom of the table at the time, could counter-attack.

This result was the highlight of former United coach Rene Meulensteen's short time in charge of Fulham and upon his return to Old Trafford he rubbed salt in Moyes' wounds by saying of United's crossing tactics: "If you are 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."

United's air of invincibility had long since been torn to shreds and had been replaced by an atmosphere of anxiety against which Moyes was seemingly helpless to act. Darren Bent's injury-time equaliser epitomised this nervousness and left United nine points off the UEFA Champions League places.


MAN UNITED 0 LIVERPOOL 3 - 16TH MARCH 2014
Defeats can happen but the manner in which United were dismantled by their fiercest rivals at Old Trafford was a damning verdict of Moyes. It has been widely reported that this was the game since when the Glazers were putting Moyes' future under the greatest scrutiny.

Liverpool were at times toying with United as Brendan Rodgers comprehensively outthought his opposite number. Moyes' decision to select a team without any pace, leaving Danny Welbeck on the bench until the 76th minute, was completely baffling and it was ruthlessly exposed by Liverpool.

Moyes also failed to react to Liverpool's diamond formation in midfield, where United were chasing shadows, and it was a dreadful reflection of his potential to take United back to the necessary standards.


MAN UNITED 0 MAN CITY 3 - 25TH MARCH 2014
"We have played a very good side, playing at the sort of level we are aspiring to." As a PR operation, it was equivalent to Moyes standing in front of a packed Stretford End and discharging a revolver into one of his metatarsals.

Admitting City, United's derby rivals, were a significantly better side than a squad who had been crowned champions the previous May seemed a baffling confession at the time and was Moyes' admission of his own shortcomings.

United had been embarrassed on the field, having earlier in the season also been thrashed 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium, as Moyes' men were again found wanting against one of the Premier League's big boys. Again, City had exposed United's lack of pace and, more worryingly, Moyes' failure to react.


EVERTON 2 MAN UTD 0 - 20TH APRIL 2014
This season is the first time Everton have beaten United at home and away since 1969/70 and, to make matters worse, it was against Moyes' former club.

Last Sunday's toothless defeat at Goodison Park proved to be the final straw for the Glazers and also showed the improvements Everton have made under Moyes' successor on Merseyside, Roberto Martinez.

The cutting edge and intent of Everton was in stark contrast to United. The visitors had a 61 per cent dominance of possession but managed just nine shots to their hosts' 17, which provided a snapshot of a lack of direction. Overall, it was Moyes' worst nightmare.

Peter Fraser

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