Moyes is lacking 'charismatic authority', Kieran Gibbs is defended, Chelsea's problems are examined and a dreadful chant attacked. It's a glorious mailbox...
Fear is stopping Moyes dismantling Fergie's team, we are told. Plus, one Arsenal fan digs at Gibbs and mails on Martinez, the Group of Death and a Spurs Christmas list...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Sensible United Concerns
Rather than the usual conclusions following the United game, I think it's more appropriate to list some concerns instead:
Moyes really doesn't seem to have any idea of how to change his tactics or personnel during the match. His substitutions have been, over the course of the season, abysmal. Against Southampton, the substitutions completely unbalanced the team and left players unsure of their role. If the intention was to hold on to the 1-0 lead, taking off the players who were performing the best didn't make sense.
Along with substitutions, Moyes' unwillingness to change the game plan to react to the evolution of the match is worrying. Against City, instead of addressing the glaringly obvious problems with the setup as they became apparent, he elected to wait until the hour mark before making his one, and only, change. A good manager should be able to adapt his team based on how the match is panning out, yet Moyes hasn't done this often enough and seems to be convinced that we can "hold out" as we are.
The mindset doesn't seem to be "get the match won" any more. Both the manager and an alarming number of players seem to be content to aim for 1-0s and scrappy draws, regardless of the opposition. Swansea on the opening day is the only match where we showed real drive to attack and win the game as early as possible. In every match since, we've either been clinging on to a narrow lead or struggling to get into a winning position. On Saturday we tempted fate and settled for 1-0 and, ultimately, got what we deserved.
There seems to be a distinct lack of a leader, both on the pitch and the sidelines. The players don't seem to have the fear of disappointing anyone. Ferguson would have absolutely torn the team apart after a performance like that and the players knew it. Replacing Sir Alex with Moyes is like replacing an old-school, fire-and-brimstone, cane-happy headmaster with one of today's head teachers who won't put you on detention even if you're caught fighting in the yard.
On the field it's the same. There's no one giving other players the rollicking they deserve and only Rooney seems to be showing any passion at all. The team seems to have completely lost it's identity.
Time and money
Moyes needs to be given time to adjust to the job, of course he does, but how much time can we really afford to give him? Let's say he gets at least this season; if you extrapolate the results so far (W3, D2, L3) over the season, we'd have 14 wins, 10 draws, 14 losses, giving us 52 points, which would see us finish 8th, based on the last 3 years.
Now, I'm really hoping that it won't be as black and white as that and that our form will pick up, but there's nothing to suggest it will; no visible signs of improvement at all and (despite how they look on paper) the games aren't getting any easier in the coming weeks, given the results we've achieved so far.
The issue here is money; if we finish outside the top four and fail to win a trophy we'll miss out on a huge chunk of revenue. While we could afford one poor year, written off as a transitional period, we probably couldn't afford a second or third. The amount of debt United are in needs to be constantly serviced in order to keep it under control. Reduced revenue could be catastrophic to the stability of the club in the long term. How long then does Dave get to turn it around? I certainly don't know, but I don't have the confidence that the board does either.
It's still too early for knee-jerk reactions - sacking him now isn't going to help anyone so those asking for his removal should cut that out - but the warning signs are there and improvement needs to start showing very quickly.
Ted, Manchester - predicting defeat to Sociedad and a draw with Stoke
United Fans Need Some Perspective
I use the term "Fans" loosely as I believe many of those slating David Moyes and calling for him to go, are stereotypical plastics that have never even set foot in Old Trafford. Your team has dominated for 20 years and has made an iffy start to the season. Wow, woe is me. Poor you.
Im 19 years of age and I support my local team Sunderland. Since being a fan i've seen us relegated 3 times- twice with a record low amount of points, we've never played at the new Wembley, never reached a Cup final let alone win anything, never play in Europe and have beaten our rivals Newcastle very very rarely.
Since coming up to the Premier League in 07 we have spent millions on absolute gunk and seen countless Managers build us up, only to knock us down again. We've had one season in 10th but the rest battling relegation and playing absolutely dreadful football. The one slight positive in all this, was that we are still a PL club.
That is now surely going to change after God knows how many errors has lead to us having Gus Poyet in charge of an absolutely woeful squad. The goals we are conceding are pathetic and Sunday league level and if I didn't laugh at our horrendous bad luck, i'd be crying. Relegation is now a case of when and not if. I only hope we beat Derby's 11 point record.
On the horizon is the derby next week. I live in a split area of the North East and I can only imagine the delight of the Black and Whites up the road if they beat us next week and plunge Wearside further into depression and misery (If that's possible)
So forgive me for showing little pity to the United plastics when they cry about their poor start. You wanna see a shambles and a crisis in football? Come to the Sunderland on Sunday and see grown men crying like women at the end of a Downton Abbey omnibus.
TheGuru (Depressed St, Wearside)
Are Kagawa Et Al Suffering From 'Joe Cole Effect'
I'm mildly concerned at United's start to the season, particularly concerned with Moyes' substitutions yesterday and the fact that I never hugely rated Fellaini as a CM (his best work is further up the field in a system that United can't player under Moyes for at least 2 years or, rightly or wrongly, he'll get hounded out for turning us into Everton) but yesterday was mainly about missed chances so we can improve from where we are as far as I'm concerned.
It seems to me that there's a fair few players in the United squad currently undergoing what I like to term the Joe Cole effect. It's pretty common in football and pretty simple, basically if a player's not in the team (normally through injury) the worse the team performs the better he gets. Like the season that Joe Cole spent out and I had to listen to MotD's increasingly hysterical exaggeration of his importance to that Chelsea side and then he came back to take the world by storm, similar thing happened with Thomas Vermaelen while he was out and Arsenal couldn't defend but as always turned out he wasn't the Messiah just an average defender who's abilities were inflated in the media by some early goals for Arsenal. It's only natural, particularly with someone like Joe Cole, the longer he's away the more you forget the times he runs down a blind alley, loses possession trying some crazy flick or refuses to track back and the more you see the team on the pitch struggle the more the thought "Joe Cole could have done something with that" takes hold, sure he could have but in the real world he only would have done maybe half the time. Apologies to Joe if he's reading this by the way, not a dig at him because he was good for Chelsea he just happened to get better and better the longer he was injured.
At United we've currently got Kagawa and bizarrely Zaha undergoing this process. Don't get me wrong I think Kagawa used properly in his main position would become a wonderful player for United but he would certainly need the team to adapt to his style somewhat to bring out the best in him and while there's very possibly merit to that at the very least there would be a settling in period to be endured. As for Zaha, I've seen United fans ask why he's not been picked or brought on seemingly purely on the basis that while he hasn't been on the pitch we've not always won which would equally be reason to play me, no doubt the lad has talent but with no premier league experience to speak of an and end product that this early in his career is still variable can we really be sure he'd make things better rather than worse?
So can we please stop pretending that everything would be fine if Moyesy would just pick one player, there's a long road ahead to get our season back on track and frankly whatever else you think of Moyesy if one of these guys was so glaringly worthy of a place in the team he'd put them in, he's not completely ignorant of football ability and despite some reports he's seemingly not crippled by fear and only willing to pick players he's seen before (Adnan has played his way into real first team contention with the same opportunities available).
I'm not saying people aren't entitled to their opinions or even that those opinions hold no value, it's entirely possible that a player could come in and make a big difference, again look at the Adnan, but can we not fall into the trap of building people up to mythical proportions just because of what our imaginations tell us they could be.
All Just A Case Of History Repeated
Manchester United hired a new Scottish manager.
They drew with Chelsea 0-0.
They lost 4-1 to City away.
Liverpool beat them by 1 goal.
Lost to West Brom at home by 1 goal.
They beat Sunderland.
United's 8th league match ended 1-1.
This was in the 1921-22 season.
They were relegated.
Mike (took me ages to uncover this info) D.
Had Enough Of Giggs
Ryan Giggs . . . why? Just why, David Moyes? One of the few good things I thought we were going to get out of having a new manager in charge was an end to Ryan Giggs getting into the team by virtue of being Ryan Giggs.
Some unsurprising stats: In last year's premiership, Giggs started 12 games, with the side winning 8 and losing 4 of them. In the other 26 games, the team won 20, drew 5 and lost 1.
If you narrow that down to just the 12 games vs the rest of the top 7 (City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton & Liverpool), he started 5 of those games, losing 3 and winning the other 2. Those wins were Everton (H) and Liverpool away, where we were murdered in midfield until Liverpool had a man sent off. In the 7 games he didn't start, the team won 4, drew 2 and lost 1.
It's bizarre to watch. He floats gently around the pitch like a jellyfish, giving the ball away, waving opposition players past on their way to goal and wrecking the team shape by forcing everyone else to run around covering for him. Everyone in the world could see it last year, it kept costing us, and yet Fergie kept on throwing him in there in big games like he was bored and was just trying to give everyone else a chance.
Now Moyes is doing it. Saturday's substitutions were just comical, not negative. First he brings Giggs on for Nani, which immediately kills the right side of our attack. He then has to fix the problem he caused by bringing Giggs on, so he does that by bringing Welbeck on, and shifting Giggs central. He then has to bring Smalling on and push Jones forward to fix the gaping hole in centre midfield that suddenly opened up thanks to Giggs being there alongside Carrick instead of, well, anyone who could run.
Effectively Moyes burnt his last two subs trying to accommodate his first one, all because of this weird obsession with the idea that 'experience' can make up for a midfielder not actually being able to run. At this rate, we're going to get to the point where most Utd fans will be relieved when Giggs retires. That'd be a pretty sad end to a great career, so stop it, David . . . please?
Rob (still hope he manages to score for the 137th league season running, mind)
...On Ryan Giggs, he's doing a Tendulkar at the moment by not retiring on top. Great player and I hate to say it but he just looks past it. The mind is sharp as ever but his body can't seem to keep up. It's sad to watch him these days trying hollywood passes every time he gets the ball and giving it away constantly.
Chelsea v Cardiff Conclusions
- The equalizer tells us the grey shades of the game. Very debatable, but high time some of these grey shades were removed.
- However the second Hazard goal was atricious from Cardiff goalie. The controversial goal has hidden his awful performance this GW.
- And what was David Luiz thinking for Cardiff's goal? It was ridiculuous from the eccentric Brazilian (but I still love him)
- We struggled in the first half. We are yet to hit a rhythm during games. Barring 30 mins against Hull, first half aginst Everton and the second half against Fulham we have generally not been at our best.
- Still we're winning and 2 points from the top. This was missing since Jose last left. Win games while playing not at the best (ya ya, we've heard it a lot, but heck nice to see my team doing it)
- Lampard offers a lot in his new role. Especially beginning attacking moves. But we still need a CM who controls games.
- Mata was poor on Saturday. One of his off nights. Oscar proved why Jose trusts him to be his preferred no 10. Guile, energy, pace and goals.
- When counter attacking, we are one of the best in the business. Exemplified by the late goals. If we had better finishers, we will kill teams more often.
- While commentators make it a big point to say first CFC striker to score in the premiership, Spurs also had their first goal from a striker in open play - just FYI.
Aravind, CFC, (And Juve lost. What a game that was), Chennai
In the last ten years football has seen a monumental shift from traditional wingers towards "inverted" wingers.
This has been seen effectively in the recent success of Townsend and in past years Pires and Ronaldo by 'cutting in' from the flank and thus exploiting the full-backs weaker foot.
I was just wondering if anyone thinks the traditional 'right footed' full back playing on the 'right' side is now becoming outdated and will see another shift towards "inverted fullbacks"
It's All Coming Up Andros
I don't mean to put the dampners on the Townsend hype, but can I just say he is going through a moment in his career where he can do no wrong.
He shoots, scores for England, then hits the bar for England with another great strike and now scores from a cross for Spurs. He should do my Lotto Numbers, pick my scratch cards, tell me which way to go on my SatNav so I don't get stuck in traffic. Basically I need a someone with that kind of fortune.
I would like to add balance and say that the last time anything negative happened in his life (Betting ban/fine in the summer) he came back to be the player we are seeing now.
Long may it continue, and he has obviously be watching Bale like a hawk.
Chris, Southend, COYS.
Some Serie A Love...
Wondering if anyone else saw the impossible Fiorentina 4 - Juve 2 that just went down.. Wanted to know if the age-old stereotypes of Serie A as "snail-paced" ,"boring", "ultra-defensive", "joke of a league" still hold water... This is going to be good.
Raúl H. García (3 goals in 4 minutes... I thought Robbie Fowler was the only one who could pull that!) Liverpool FC 1892-YNWA
Worried About Concussion
While people are debating the rights and wrongs of Hazard's goal, and Moyes' substitutions, I believe the biggest mistake at the weekend was letting Flamini back onto the pitch after suffering a concussion even if it was only for a few minutes.
While I believe this was a mistake, I can't really blame anyone for it, as most players will want to play on if physically possible, the referee can't force an injured player to stay off, and the club doctor has to look out for best interest of both the club who pays his wage and the player.
I believe this is an issue that all football government bodies need to look at, as they are the ones who will face any lawsuits if the PFA or any group of players decided to take legal action. The NFL has recently agreed a $765M settlement to more than 4,500 former players who have developed dementia and other brain disorders, and obviously FIFA/The FA won't face that number of players, but there may be some.
While I can identify the problem, I am not sure what the solution is, my leading idea is a neutral doctor at each game who's sole interest is to look out for the safety of the players, but was wondering is anyone else has similar concerns, or any solutions to the problem.
Oh When The Saints...
I wanted the new manger to work. I was prepared to give him time, but after the draw at Old Trafford against limited opposition (albeit with a couple of good players), I have lost faith. If we are going to achieve anything of note this season, then we should be beating mid-table teams like this without much fuss. So as much as it pains me to say it, POCHETTINO OUT!!!
Just kidding of course. I think we'll have a very good season. Staying in or around the European places is probably unlikely, but 7th or 8th is certainly attainable. And that would be a huge improvement, when you remember we were only effectively safe from relegation with 1 game to go last season. Would still like to see us score a few more goals though.
Michael, Saints fan in Basel (If Manchester United had sold Rooney, would their season have been even worse at this stage?)
That video of 'Arry getting hit in the face with a ball at the Millwall-QPR game has restored my faith in humanity.
That is all.
Shane Kearney, Mitchelstown
The Real Goal Of The Weekend
I know it's been a while since women's football has been discussed on this site and we've had the various arguments back and forth about quality, speed etc. But for one moment, I think we can all agree that this goal is pretty brilliant.
If Ibrahimovic scored that, we'd all be filling our pants.
Mark, Hong Kong