#82 Bad Boyes for Life
During this week’s episode of the Can They Score podcast, we once again review David Moyes’ tenure at Old Trafford after another disappointing display at the Britannia Stadium. Dissecting the team, tactics and post match press conference- this week’s podcast gets down and dirty with all the questions hanging over the Scotman’s head in recent weeks.
Two Midfielders, One Mission
When David Moyes signed Juan Mata on the 23rd January, it was heralded as a massive turning point for him and the club.
It was a signing that naturally captured the imagination of supporters desperately looking for something to cheer, and a sign that neither the manager nor his paymasters were willing to accept such a rapid decline to the role of also-rans.
But the most important element of that signing for me was that, unusually for these kind of deals, it didn’t happen in the last seconds of the window. It was sealed a full week before the window closed, and left sufficient time to sort out the other, more pressing problem area.
Time for Fellaini to find his feet at United.
It’s hard to think of a more underwhelming major signing in recent times. The previous big splash of Glazer cash to have failed to hit the heights expected was Dimitar Berbatov; yet even he could always rely on a vocal band of admirers to fight his corner. Fellaini has had no such luck. Whereas the capture of the Bulgarian mercurial enigma (cliché klaxon ago go) represented a thrilling, logic defying pursuit of yet more attacking adventure, our Belgian acquisition is by contrast a depressingly sensible acceptance of functionality over flair.
Safe Yet Solemn, United’s midfield Struggled To Excite
If he were watching, Roy Hodgson might have described Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace as a game of “high quality”, but he would have been alone in holding that opinion. Crystal Palace haven’t given the impression that they will stay up too comfortably, and continued that form here. For the most part the south-Londoners failed to show even brief glimpses of quality, and were particularly sloppy with the ball in their own half.
MUFC Class of 2013: End of Term Report: Midfield
Due to Tom’s busy summer schedule, other writers from the Can They Score team will continue the MUFC class of 2013 end of term report. With Chris snapping up the easy job of rating the forwards in the team, I, Frenchy, have been left with the nightmarish duty of evaluating and grading Manchester United’s rather lacklustre midfield.
I have evaluated every player who made a minimum of ten appearances over the season. For each I have followed a standard school report format: identified what I considered a realistic objective for the start of the season (OBJ), identified what went well (WWW) and even better if (EBI). Each player has also been graded. The judgments are based on performance against expectations and in no way should be considered a hierarchy of ability.
Real Madrid Preview: Ronaldo isn’t the only threat for United
In the build-up to their first leg encounter with Madrid, much has been made of Phil Jones as United’s key tactical agent in the battle to muzzle Cristiano Ronaldo. Secondary concerns have also been raised around Xabi Alonso and Mesut Ozil, with suggested solutions ranging from a dropping Wayne Rooney in deep to unsettle the Spaniard and unleashing Danny Welbeck or Ashely Young on the left to harry the German playmaker.
Carrick’s Gifts Finally Being Appreciated
The summer of 2006. The balance of power in English seemingly shifting to London as Chelsea had secured their first back-to-back league titles in their history, while Arsenal had come within twenty minutes of their first Champions League trophy. Shevchenko and Ballack – both in their pomp – agreed moves to Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United appeared to be on the verge of turmoil as a solitary League Cup success was mere sticking plaster to cover the gaping wounds of no league title in three years – United’s longest barren spell since the Premiership was created. They had been eliminated in the group stages of the Champions League too. Ruud van Nistelrooy had become the latest high profile name to depart the club. Rumours were rife that Cristiano Ronaldo wanted out following the English media’s brutal and relentless witch-hunt of the teenage prodigy. Football pundits across the land were relishing in United’s apparent downfall and many predicted them to finish outside the top four, with Ferguson bowing out of the game.
Scholes and Carrick and the center of the park
Every time Manchester United come back and win a game in which they looked no better than the opposition, it can be difficult to go back and criticize anything the team did.
In the end, the three points are all that matter and the three earned against a lively Newcastle United are especially important. Manchester City lost at Sunderland and United now lie 7 points off the Premier League summit. Manchester United had to win today, and win they did, after a persistent Javier Hernandez poked home Michael Carrick’s brilliantly weighted pass over the Newcastle rearguard in the 90th minute.