By Tushar Chawla
Ever since Fergie’s retirement, there has been a sense of gloom and despair amongst the United faithful. David Moyes, despite building a reasonably strong reputation at Everton, has not been unanimously seen as a worthy successor – though to his credit, it was always difficult to fill Fergie’s huge boots. Under Moyes, United have played eight competitive matches, including the ones against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. The result in all the three important games of the season has not been what United wanted. The start to the season under Moyes was a good one by winning the Community Shield. All this leads to uncertainty regarding Manchester United’s future under Moyes and questions are being raised regarding the retention of the title by United.
United started the season by winning the Community Shield against Wigan. United dominated most of the match and won it 2-0. Robin Van Persie continued his brilliant form from the last season as he scored both the goals. It was the first match under Moyes and United players delivered for their new manager in style. After a mix pre-season campaign, Moyes and the supporters at United were happy winning the first trophy of the new season. The Shield wasn’t about playing free flowing football; it was about removing doubt and reassuring the supporters. The first BPL match was won comprehensively by beating a strong Swansea side 4-1.
THE DEADLY DUO
If Manchester United want to win this year, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney are the two key players they will be looking up to. Persie scored 26 goals in the last season and won the golden boot in the BPL. Rooney scored 12 and in every match when they started together in the BPL United never lost. Persie’s importance was shown in the Manchester derby last weekend where United were crushed 4-1 by City, Persie could not play the match due to a injury. And Rooney was the only one who could, perhaps, hold his head up high after the derby drubbing. United can win the 21st title only if these two perform as they did in the last season. Both have started the season really well as Persie scored twice in the opening match and Rooney has 4 goals and 4 assists in the 6 matches that he has played this season. Both the players need to be fully fit throughout the season if United wants to win this season.
There’s been all the negativity surrounding Manchester United’s transfer dealings this summer and while most of it has been justified, the fact remains that the void in the starting lineup has been addressed. Fellaini, who was signed on the transfer window deadline day from Everton brings the right balance in the team and along with Cleverley and Carrick forms the midfield United would like to go with. Adnan Januzaj and Wilfried Zaha are two promising players who can help United win the title this year. They need to be given more chances in the playing XI.
After the match against West Brom, United currently stands at 12th in the points table, one of the worst starts United has ever had to a season. Considering the three big matches against Liverpool, Chelsea and City, it is not a poor start. United in the match against Liverpool was quite strong in the second half but failed to convert the chances. The biggest defeat of the season came in the derby, a heartbreaking and disappointing match for the Red Devils. The match not only gave United a backseat in the title race but also gave a major blow to the morale of the team. Only two players have performed for United this season consistently; Rooney and van Persie. David de Gea has been anything but satisfactory, Ashley Young and Valencia have not performed well either. Chicharito needs to start more games for United as he showed his class yet again in the Capital One Cup tie against Liverpool by scoring the winner. Carrick has been good but needs support from other midfielders who have not been up to the mark yet.
United are going through a transformation phase under Moyes, it has not been a good start to the season but things would get only better from here. Moyes needs to decide the right balance for the team and the players need time to adopt to the tactics of Moyes. In my view, United can still win the title, as it is early days in the season and this team is good enough to fight against any good opposition. Teams like Spurs and Everton are getting strong by the day but United would surely make to the top four in the table. A lot will depend on van Persie’s fitness and form as he was the leading goal scorer in the previous season.
The supporters at United need to remember the last words spoken by Sir Alex Ferguson in his speech:
“Your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.”