A common look for United players this season
There’s a lot being said after the Olympiakos defeat on forums, social media sites and in the press today. A majority of cross-hairs are fixed on David Moyes, and rightly so. He’s cutting an increasingly forlorn figure after each game - win, lose or draw - and his pre-match ‘maybes’, ‘we’ll try’ and ‘give it a go’ are doing little to instil confidence that he’s the right man for the job.
But what of the players? The ones on the pitch that have a direct input into this woeful form? For us, they’re getting an easy ride. Sure, the only difference between this season and last is a new gaffer, bar Fellaini and Mata, but the players aren’t not putting in the performances worthy of the shirt. Yet, every byline and forum header focuses on weeding out David Moyes.
The culmination of the two sides - players and manager - have made this season a mess. Moyes has lost the dressing room and the players are coasting as a result.
Here are some of the things that they can both be blamed for…
- Tactical ineptness - He hasn’t got a Plan A, let alone a Plan B. Long balls and crosses one week, no wingers the next. There’s an argument made for trying to find the best fit/formation, but it’s not like this is his first job managing players, is it?
- Transfers - ‘Dithering Dave’ they called him at Everton due to his slow movements in the transfer market. His laboured moves at United have left him with A. Chasm playing in midfield once again.
- Smalling at right-back - As it reads.
- PR - First it’s a ‘squad bereft of world class players’, then it’s ‘a world class squad’, now it’s just a ‘squad’. Confusing for fans, annoying for the players, no doubt.
- A seeming distrust of his squad - Zaha loaned out, Fabio sold, Hernandez and Kagawa left to rot. There’s also the curious case of leaving Januzaj out when he’s been our most consistent performer this season.
- Smalling at right-back - It’s worth saying twice.
- Lack of responsibility - Bar Rooney, not one other player has looked to consistently grab the game by the scruff of the neck this season for United.
- Passionless - Same as the above, but when they go a goal down these days, the players look as though there’s an inevitability about it and simply down tools.
- Outbursts - Might just be us, but there certainly seems to be more ‘leaks’ to the press about how unhappy folk are than when Fergie was in charge. Rio, Zaha and Hernandez have all taken to social media to express their frustrations… and then denied it afterwards.
- Cowardice - RvP, arguably our best player last season, has been anonymous for large parts of this term. When he’s not mouthing off about ‘players being in his position’ he’s claiming he’s unfit. He’s not looked right all season, and talk of him wanting to jump ship explains a lot. Add to this list: Tom Cleverley (you’re not a scapegoat, you’re just not very good), Ashley ‘The Crab’ Young who always goes sideways, Antonio Valencia who stifles United’s attacks better than any opposition full-back could dream of and those we listed earlier who were crying about not playing on social networks.
There are a ton more that each is responsible for, but one thing is for sure, this won’t last. Something has to give and all signs currently point to David Moyes leaving the club as the players’ mutiny continues.
So while you sharpen your knives to slash up the gaffer, just remember that those players on the pitch still know how to play football, regardless of tactics, and for one reason or another, are simply not doing it.