Is David Moyes to blame at Manchester United?

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Manchester United’s season hit a new low the weekend before last when his side drew 2-2 at home to bottom club Fulham. The result left the Red Devils in seventh, 11 points adrift Liverpool in fourth and 15 off leaders Arsenal. Winning the league title this season has suddenly become out of the question. I also find it hard to imagine that they will make the top four.

A lot of people have blamed the Red Devils’ change of manager for their failure. I would partly agree. I agree because I don’t think the transition has affected them, but I think the man who replaced the great Sir Alex Ferguson is to blame. I may be being harsh, but I personally would put the majority of the blame on David Moyes.

Darren Bent's late equaliser meant the points were shared when Fulham visited Old Trafford earlier this month
Darren Bent’s late equaliser meant the points were shared when Fulham visited Old Trafford earlier this month

Before I continue, let me clear a few things up:

  1. I think David Moyes is a good manager. He was fantastic at Everton and was also clearly liked by Sir Alex as he personally picked him as his successor. But I don’t think this job is for him. He is more suited to a job like he had Everton and clearly can’t cope with the pressure that a big club like Manchester United brings.
  2. I am not suggesting that United sack Moyes. I don’t think that they will sack Moyes. Fergie had a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, just as Moyes has. He didn’t win a trophy until his third full season at the club and finished 11th in his first campaign. I don’t think that the club will give Moyes that long, but if he can turn it around next season, which I think he will, his job should be safe for the foreseeable future.
Sir Alex Ferguson personally picked David Moyes as his successor
Sir Alex Ferguson personally picked David Moyes as his successor

With the positives out of the way, let’s crack on with why I think Moyes is to blame for the mess at Old Trafford this season. So far this season, the Scot has blamed – in no particular order – United’s fixture list, refereeing decisions, injuries, and simple bad luck for a series of totally inept performances by his shell-shocked side that, frankly, are an embarrassment when you consider the proud traditions of the famous club. He has no reason to blame the above things, but I have reasons why he can’t:

Fixture list – United’s fixture list has been a lot easier compared to other clubs’. They were knocked out of the FA Cup early, another fault, so have been given a few weekends off, including this last one, where they had the time to go warm weather training in Dubai, whilst teams like Manchester City and Arsenal were busy despatching off tough opposition in the cup. A bad fixture list can often be coped with by good squad depth. Moyes didn’t invest enough in the summer transfer window, panic buying Marouane Fellaini on deadline. Buying Juan Mata in January, improved their best 11, not their depth.

Refereeing decisions – On this, Moyes may have a point, with Andre Marriner’s choices in their Capital One Cup first leg against Sunderland very easily questioned. But he isn’t the only one to be on the wrong end of some dodgy decisions, and it is always the easy way out of a bad defeat. Sometimes you have to think whether the decisions would have actually won you the game, which at times for United this season hasn’t been the case.

Marouane Fellaini was Moyes' only transfer last summer
Marouane Fellaini was Moyes’ only transfer last summer

Injuries – Every club gets them. Unfortunately for United, they’ve had their key players out for long periods this season, with the absence of Robin van Persie proving vital. Or has it? In only RVP’s second game back from injury, United suffered a 2-1 defeat at Stoke, their goal coming from the Dutchman but he couldn’t stop from a defeat. This excuse also comes back to Moyes’ lack of investment, as I mentioned in why he can’t blame United’s fixture list.

Bad luck – The ultimate excuse for any manager who is suffering defeat after defeat. Moyes particularly used this excise after their 2-2 draw with Fulham. They put a record 81 crosses into the box against the Cottagers yet only scored two goals. That isn’t bad luck. That’s a mixture of poor crosses and good defending. That in short is what United’s “bad luck” has been this season. A mixture of poor play (often down to Moyes’ tactics) and good play from the opposition.

Moyes' career started fairly well when he was victorious in the Community Shield
Moyes’ career started fairly well when he was victorious in the Community Shield

One point that I would like to add is that at a football club, often people to blame are either the manager or the players. In this situation, in this season at Manchester United, I blame the manager. Not only because of the points I have mentioned above, but because I feel you can’t blame the players. Yes, they have been poor at times this season, but is that down to Moyes’ tactics and ideas? It is an almost identical squad to that that won the Premier League last season, minus a few youngsters and plus Fellaini and Mata – which should only improve the team. 24 players started a league game for the club last season, 21 remain at the club.

The players clearly have it in them, but Moyes can’t get it out of them.

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