Enough is Enough- Tonight is Moyes’ Last Chance
United may well make their way trip onto the hallowed turf of Old Trafford to the accompaniment of the Champions League music tonight for the last time in a good few years. Under the guidance of David Moyes, the defending Premier League champions have fallen from grace to a lowly 7th position in the Premier League and look unlikely to even qualify for the Europa League next season.
After losing the first leg 2-0 in Greece, it seems unlikely based on current form that the Red Devils will be able to score the goals needed to take them through to the next round. Lacking in confidence across the field of play and apparently paralysed by the pressure of playing in front of their own fans, the current side is one of the most uninspiring in recent memory, having scored as many goals at home this season as low-lying Fulham FC. Unsurprisingly, David Moyes has taken most of the criticism for this regression.
Since his arrival last summer, Moyes has done little to reassure the United faithful that he is the man for the job and defeats to Spurs, Swansea, Sunderland, Chelsea, Stoke, Olympiakos and Liverpool already in 2o14 have pushed many fans to the brink. Anything other than a miraculous turnaround tonight is unlikely to change anyone’s view on this matter!
However, more so than the results, there have been a number of aggravating factors that have contributed to the dwindling of support for David Moyes since his appointment in the summer:
More than the results, fans have been left infuriated by the archaic tactics employed by Moyes in many games this season. Showing a steadfast reliance on getting the ball wide and whipping it in, he has seemed incapable of adopting any other style of play- as seen on Sunday when he tried and failed to play ‘good’ football whilst awkwardly resisting his natural desire to stick Fellaini up front.
To add to that, Moyes has all too often lived up to his reputation as Dithering Dave, electing not to make substitutions and actively change the game until it is too late. As Gary Neville wept in the commentary box for a change of formation, Moyes didn’t make any changes until the 76th minute on Sunday by which point Liverpool had run United ragged and unsurprisingly snatched another penalty and a third goal soon after.
Although most fans forgave Moyes for the club’s embarrassing transfer activity in the summer due to the departure of Gill, the inexperience of Woodward and their limited time frame, they have not been as forgiving towards his decision to waste Juan Mata on the wing. Whilst Rooney and van Persie have toiled up front, his decision to leave one of the league’s most creative players dwindling on the right has been nothing short of perverse especially considering the fact he was United’s record signing.
Above all else however, the thing fans have found most disappointing is the defeatist rhetoric that has repeatedly rang around Old Trafford since Moyes arrived in July. Before games, he has shown a meekness unbecoming of a man in his stature- focusing on avoiding defeat rather than grabbing the victory. After games, he has preferred to applaud pathetic performances, blame the referee and curse the team’s bad luck rather than criticise what every fan has seen as unacceptable performances.
If Moyes is truly to start winning back the fans who so badly wanted him to succeed, his first mission is to come out fighting tonight with a bold line up, a bold approach and a bold tongue. The odds are stacked against him but if he ever wants to show that he has got what it takes to be United’s manager, it is now or never! Otherwise, it may well be the final straw for the fans, Fergie and the Glazers.