I have to admit this season has been a rather refreshing one. Part of the fascinating campaign so far is the change at Manchester United.
United boss David Moyes was always going to have a difficult time replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in the United hot seat.
However, United are way off the pace in the Premier League title race, ten points behind league leaders Arsenal.
The Red Devils claimed a 3-0 win at Aston Villa last time out in the Premier League and everybody connected with the club will be hoping it is the start of a good run.
The champions face a trip to Stoke in quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup tonight. Moyes has promised changes to his team tonight from the one that so comfortably beaten Villa. Moyes told Sky Sports:
“We have a squad of players who I believe can all play in any game, so I’ll look at them and see who I think is ready,”
“We have a lot of games coming up and we need to use that squad, so I’ll look at this game and see who is best suited. But I think we have fielded a strong side in every game we have played.
“There were a few I expected to play [against Villa] but got injured on Saturday before we travelled down. There is nothing fresh and hopefully I won’t find anything fresh.”
Away to Stoke is never an easy game and Moyes will have to field a strong team to get a result at the Britannia Stadium. United need to build on the victory over Villa and look to keep up their forward momentum.
Successful seasons are built on winning runs and momentum. Teams get into habits of both winning and losing. If United go to Stoke with a weakened team and end up getting beaten then they will be back to square one.
Manchester United players in the last two decades have very rarely lacked confidence. The Red Devils players never seemed short of confidence in their own abilities. However, this season under Moyes everybody involved with the club has all of a sudden had a major confidence crisis.
The win over Villa seems to have restored some of that confidence and the reigning champions need to keep that feel good factor with a good performance and win over Stoke this evening.
David Moyes lack of silverware in his days at Everton was well documented. His team selections while at Everton cost the Toffees progression, especially in the league cup. Moyes won his first piece of silverware with the community shield victory over Wigan at the start of the season.
The league cup has not been top United’s priorities in recent seasons, but it could be a good opportunity for Moyes and his team to collect silverware. United currently look unlikely to win the Premier League title.
It would also be a major achievement for the reigning English champions to win the Champions League and they have yet to enter the FA Cup.
The Capital One Cup sudden takes on a bigger importance to the Red Devils. It could very well be a catalyst to bigger and better things in the future for Moyes, just like the competition had a big effect on Sir Alex Ferguson’s early years at the club.
Maybe the victory at Aston Villa will kick-start United’s season, as the campaign has been very poor for Moyes’ men so far. Moyes has come under intense pressure because of poor results and poor performances from his team this season.
The victory at Villa Park may just be the turning point of the season. The champions once again looked like a threat going forward and also looked reasonably solid in defence. The display was pretty impressive considering the number of players United currently have on the injured list.
The mood amongst United fans now seems slightly more optimistic and the pressure has been taken off Moyes for a few days. A win at Stoke could increase the confidence in Moyes and his team going into the crucial, but a defeat could again raise questions about Moyes ability to manage United.
Will United defeat Stoke in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals?