|photo by UC Davis College of Engineering
The David Moyes experiment rolled on, lowering expectations across the globe, and convincing a vast majority of Manchester United fans that having 20 percent of the ball and only the barest of opportunities to score with it somehow showed progress in a season full of reverses. Its chief adherent seemingly believing in minimalist football as the way forward, Moyes managed to pull the wool over the eyes of a large number of United supporters, many of whom now appear content to blame the players for their repeated failures and vastly reduced horizons -- a world where "trying" is the moral equivalent of winning, and a game in which opponents are hoped to be "contained" rather than nails to be hammered down.
The latest chapter in the experiment saw United fans flush with success at a 0-0 halftime draw, on the heels of a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford eight nights ago, even though their team had only recorded a single shot taken in anger on the opposition goal in their latest endeavor. Pulses were further raised when Patrice Evra lasered an unstoppable shot into the upper corner of the goal to hand his side a 1-0 lead on the evening, 2-1 on aggregate -- a lead that lasted a bare 23 seconds before Mario Mandzukic, playing Lucy to Moyes' Charlie Brown, snatched the ball and the lead with a stunningly quick equalizer. Not content to sit on their goal, Bayern added two more in relatively quick succession, as the United end was swarmed by the home side in the contest's last half hour. Not wanting to appear rattled, Moyes waited until the game's 75th minute to work his Plan B, bringing on Chicharito and later young Adnan Januzaj, the latter after Bayern had put the contest's final result beyond any doubt.
If the Moyes' experiement is ended soon, he can be satisfied he went down being loyal to those who got him here: an injured Wayne Rooney being Exhibit A. Clearly showing the effects of a recent layoff and a painkiller shot in his foot, the Englishman was a ghost of his best self tonight, squandering some of the few half-opportunities his side were able to scratch out. Yet he remained on the pitch, limp aside, for the full 90 minutes, as both Darren Fletcher and a pacy Danny Welbeck were sacrificed.
While many are quick to criticize the players, and some of them rightfully so, it is this author's belief that the effort put forth tonight is the best the manager is capable of coaxing out of his squad -- a group of people who -- unlike many sheep-ish fans -- largely stopped believing in him a long time ago. And without a head a body is -- what? A corpse.
It's time to face facts: 7th in the League, and out of all competitions in record time. The man is just not good enough for this team. David Moyes needs to go, and the sooner the better, so the club can begin to rebuild after the appalling disaster in which this experiment has resulted.
This is farlieonfootie for April 9.