Monday, September 23, 2013

Plain and Simples: Some Opinions on Manchester United

“School is not a place for learning but a place to experience the diversity of minds.” / SML.20130322.PHIL
Photo by See-ming Lee
First off, a disclaimer: To those of you who believe a Manchester United fan should do nothing more than blindly support your club, you are entitled to that view.  To those of you who are calling for the new Manager's head, you are also entitled to that view (a little rash, in my opinion, but you are fully entitled to your belief).  There is nothing in the club charter that says a "true" fan (I hate that term) can never dissent with official club policy, or is not allowed to question team selection. 
These are all opinions.  As is the point of view that you are not entitled to express your thoughts -- that is, on the very face of it, an opinion. So as long as we are all in agreement here, now we can offer some constructive criticism of Manchester United's season to date.  This is not written in the silliness  of the "Moyes out" movement; rather, it is written in the spirit that a club (or a person) which is unable (or unwilling) to listen to criticism is a club which is in the process of not improving. 

One can always -- even as a club -- become better, inprove and learn from others.  To use an analogy: Being a football club is like riding a unicycle.  You are either moving forward or backward, but you had better not remain stationary.
o The team selction was all wrong yesterday.  Ashley Young should not see the starting lineup again for a number of weeks, until his decision making process and skill levels improve.  And to those of you who believe he is a scapegoat for an exceptionally poor team performance yesterday, you are only partically correct.  Bar a decent pass or two, Young has comfortably been United's worst player this season.  It's time for the Manager to recognize this and make a change.  
o Chicharitos' speed could have made a difference.  We obviously can't say for certain, but one thing we do know is that pumping balls to Rooney in the air was never a strategy that was designed to succeed against City's defense.  Stretching the defense, of which the Mexican striker is more than capable, would have been a smarter play in our opinion.  For all of City's stolid defending on Sunday, re-watch the first ten minutes of the encounter.  This City defense, under Pellegrini, is capable of being carved open.
o We could go on an on about playing a 4-4-2 instead of a five man midfield, or dwell on Chris Smalling playing in place of Fabio, but we won't.  Suffice it to say that Moyes is proving exceptionally stubborn with his lineup selection in his early days.  It's a trait that has served the Manager well in his career, but he must remember that stubborness is only one step away from becoming stuck in your ways, and he will need to be a quick learner to succeed in his new job.
o United should never have allowed David Gill and Alex Ferguson to leave in the same year.  This is not to say Gill was a magician, and a loss that we are unable to overcome, or to compare him in any way, shape or form to Sir Alex.  Instead, what we are saying is that Gill was an immensely capable Chief Executive Officer.  When your CEO and Chairman (Fergie) leave in the same year, your infrastructure (at the very highest levels) is rightly shaken.  Manchester United  can do all the covering they want in the press ("We got the player we wanted in the transfer market," "We weren't prepared to spend that much for XYZ, etc., etc.) but the truth is as follows: with both of United's top men leaving at the same time, it was always bound to get rocky.  The transfer window was a shambles (clearly getting played by Fabregas' and Ronaldo's agents, etc.). Now that the new season has begun in a similar fashion, no one should be surprised, least of all the Old Trafford brass.  It should not have happened in this way.

o Moyes needs to broaden the use of the squad.  Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic should not play three games together in eight days.  End of story.  If so, why does United bother to employ Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the team?  The new manager needs to trust the team that won the title last year.  Last we checked, it was composed of more than 11 players.  In his easily understood search for safety early on, Moyes is instead playing it quite risky, and doing exactly the opposite of Ferguson, who ruthlessly rotated his squad.  It's a long season, and all of the squad players are going to need to be much more heavily involved than they have been to date. .
o Sure, we (and the Manager) can carp all we want about the difficulty of the team's early schedule, but we can all remember more than a big game or two in which Ferguson started names like Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chicharito off the bat. Moyes needs to do so, as well. If he doesn't do so, and soon, important players like Giggs and Ferdinand will be knackered by springtime.
o Moyes needs time.  It's unfortunate, but the very commodity of which individuals in his position need most is what he has least at this point.  The Liverpool game, although non-league, looms large in the eyes of the press (and many fans) on Wednesday.  But Moyes needs time to settle, and learn the ins and outs of his new job.  Sure, there were many other replacements (Guardiola and Mourinho to name a couple) who might have come in and not needed as much time to settle.  But we still think the Board made the right choice for the long-term, and we still support the Manager.  But he will need time, and this year is unlikely to end in glory -- although we would obviously be delighted to be proved wrong in this opinion.
This is farlieonfootie for September 23.

No comments:

Post a Comment