Moyes has questions to answer

Posted by Mark Payne

Through thick and thin, for better or worse, that is the contract of a football supporter. Manchester United fans are currently experiencing a "thin" period. Boos are not often heard at Old Trafford, but they rang out on Saturday. This limp 1-2 home loss to West Bromwich Albion set alarm bells ringing, too; is David Moyes the right man to be leading England's most successful club?

The worst-case scenario is that Moyes' tenure could go as badly as Graeme Souness' at Liverpool post-Kenny Dalglish, or Wilf McGuinness' at United after Sir Matt Busby retired. Of course, things are not yet that dire at Old Trafford, but they could certainly head in that direction if results continue to be unimpressive. You can bet your bottom dollar the Manchester United hierarchy are now drawing up contingency plans.

Whilst defeats at Liverpool and Manchester City can be explained away, Saturday's fixture against the Baggies should have been a home banker. It is the kind of game that United have been taking care of for 20 years with the minimum of fuss. Indeed, West Brom have not won in these parts since Margaret Thatcher was merely a cabinet minister.

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All of the pieces are there for United to have an exceptional football team that gets results. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are two of the deadliest players in the world. David de Gea is an excellent goalkeeper, despite the revelations from former goalkeeping coach Eric Steele's unhelpful interview this week about the Spaniard's diet preferences.

The midfield area that endures so much negative scrutiny includes some sumptuously creative players. In Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Adnan Januzaj, Michael Carrick, even Tom Cleverley, United are rich with personnel who can create chances.

Rio Ferdinand has looked his age this season. But he alone cannot be blamed for United capitulating so feebly in their previous two league games. Nemanja Vidic remains a sturdy defender and Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling should be able deputies. So why are United drifting down the league table?

Without question, there has been upheaval at the club, but the playing squad is good enough to be doing better than it is. The players, Rooney and Vidic apart, do not look motivated enough. The tactics on the field are not proving successful. In short, David Moyes has questions to answer.

Nobody associated with United wants the club to change managers frequently and be adrift in uncertainty for long periods. At the time of Moyes' appointment many lauded it as a sound decision. However, one sage old Red told me that "If it's a disaster, we'll know pretty quickly." Three defeats in six is a grubby statistic.

Moyes is a terrific man and following Alex Ferguson was always going to be like finding the blood of a unicorn. But the results so far are not good enough. Football is a results business. Last season Manchester United lost five games all season, the Red Devils have lost three already in this campaign.

Everybody associated with Moyes wants him to do well; nonetheless, if United lose two more league games before Christmas, will the axe fall? Probably. Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton lay in wait during that period, too.

The United faithful are beginning to lose faith in the chosen one.


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