Back-to-back defeats have left Manchester United in the bottom half of the Premier League table and eight points off of Arsenal at the top. The aim this month is simple; get some wins and points on the board.
United had a very difficult start to the season and the good news is the fixtures generator has been a little kinder to them in October with an away trip to Sunderland followed by two home matches against Southampton and Stoke City.
They won’t be easy matches because Sunderland look more difficult to play against following the departure of Paolo Di Canio and Southampton and Stoke will take a lot of confidence from West Brom’s win at Old Trafford over the weekend.
Arguably the biggest test David Moyes will face this month comes in Europe with a match away against Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow followed by a home match against slick Spanish side Real Sociedad.
If United were to lose tomorrow, that would make it three defeats in four games for Moyes, with the pressure simply increasing on him to start churning out performances more accustomed to what United fans have grown used to.
Moyes’ side played well in their Champions League opener against Bayer Leverkusen but playing in Ukraine is different and an experience that Moyes won’t be used to.
A win tomorrow night isn’t just important for the team, it’s important for the boss as further justification that what he’s trying to do with the current side is working and he can cut it in European football.
Moyes is fortunate to have a relatively fully fit squad available to select from with Tom Cleverly due to return to full fitness in the next few days following a knock which kept him out of the League Cup tie against Liverpool.
What Moyes has to do this month is work out his best eleven players, the right system to use and the tactics to get the most out of the players.
He’s changing the side frequently at the moment, as he learns more about the players at his disposal and the best system to use those players within.
The League Cup match against Norwich at the end of the month will allow Moyes to make some changes and rest players, who will have worked hard to turn around the immediate fortunes of the side.
United can’t afford to lose much more ground because some of their main rivals are already pulling away and it’s only going to get more difficult the more the gaps increase.
The flamboyant nature of performances doesn’t matter, this month is all about getting points on the board, winning games and getting back some of the confidence which has been lost due to the poor start to the campaign.
What do you think United’s aims should be this month?
image: © Jason Gulledge