Manchester United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Everton at Old Trafford last night, which left the reigning champions in ninth place in the Premier League table and 12 points of league leaders Arsenal with just 14 games gone.
Last night’s defeat does not seem to have come as much of a surprise to a lot of United fans. The game could have gone either way, but the team’s performance in general will be a worry for fans of the Red Devils.
Under David Moyes Everton had not won at Old Trafford in over a decade and the Toffees had not won at United at all in 21 years.
However, prior to the game Everton boss Roberto Martinez was very positive about his team’s chances of success at Old Trafford.
The Spaniard talked about a change of mentality. That change of mentality from Moyes time at Goodison has been displayed throughout the season at Everton, not just in the United game. Everton went for the win and the statistics prove that with Martinez’s team having had 15 shots on goal during the match, just three less than the home side.
Martinez’s approach has been a breath of fresh air to Evertonians, more accustomed to David Moyes negative tactics. Unfortunately for everybody connected with United those negative tactics seem to be seeping into the United team.
Some may say that United were unlucky to have hit the woodwork on two occasions through Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney in last night’s clash, but the visitors also hit the woodwork through Kevin Mirallas. Their general performance did not look like a United team of old though and that is what will be concerning United fans.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson opposition teams were scared of playing United, especially at Old Trafford. The Scot was good at mind games and the media side of managing such a big football club.
Sometimes teams were beaten before they even stepped on the pitch, such was the psychological effect that the Scot and his team had on opposition teams. That fear factor has gone and teams feel like they can really have a go at United this season, even on their own turf.
The undoubtable confidence that used to run through the veins of the United players under Ferguson seems to have evaporated and left players questioning their own abilities.
United’s recent performances and this latest defeat has Manchester United fans once again questioning if David Moyes is the right man to take the club forward. It is early in the season, but the situation is not looking good for the Red Devils.
Last night’s defeat has prompted knee-jerk reactions from United fans worrying about not even qualifying for the Champions League. There is still a long way to go until the Premier League campaign finishes, but the majority of United fans seem to think that Moyes appointment was a mistake.
I have to say I was rather sceptical about Moyes moving to United, but welcomed the move as it felt like the Scot had achieved all he could at Goodison and the team needed a fresh injection of ideas.
Moyes never won a trophy in his tenure with the Toffees, despite his team being relatively consistent in the Premier League and that fact was a stick used to beat the Scot with during his time on Merseyside.
The former-Preston boss did not have much experience of European football, which also worked against him when he was appointed as United boss. One factor that did work in his favour was the fact that former-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson chose him as his successor.
Even that factor does not seem to be buying the Scot much time at the moment with the fans , as people are already calling him to be sack or walk away from the job.
Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson chose Moyes as a long-term option, a safe pair of hands to guide the club through a difficult transition. Expectations of United under Moyes were never going to be as high as under Ferguson, but I think the least that Manchester United fans are expecting at the end of the season is Champions League qualification.
With United 12 points behind the league leaders, even at this early stage it will be hard for the reigning champions to win the Premier League title. However, they should have enough quality within their squad to claim a place in the top four, but if not then serious questions need to be asked about David Moyes’ ability to manage the team.
What are Manchester United’s objectives for the season?