As United lost their second home game in a row against Newcastle, David Moyes, and United fans, are left with a series of testing issues to contend with.
It was the first time since 2002 that the Reds lost successive home games, and the first Newcastle victory here in over 40 years. But what are the biggest problems facing Manchester United right now? Below we look at some of them:
There is a real lack of creativity in central midfield
Against Tottenham last weekend Moyes went with Jones and Cleverley in a central midfield that was full of tenacity and energy but severely lacking in creative ability. Going for that kind of midfield against Tottenham away is maybe a decent idea, and still had Rooney linking up in the attacking midfield position to give them some threat going forward. In the midweek Everton loss there was a completely different pairing, with Ryan Giggs next to ex-Toffee Marouane Fellaini. Given their inability to break down a stubborn Everton defence Moyes returned to Jones and Cleverley for the match against Newcastle, but this time without the creative spark of a suspended Rooney. Quite why Moyes went with these two in a match where ability to create was going to be the key factor is baffling.
Januzaj has overshadowed every other United winger this season
Despite the raft of Manchester United wingers at the club that have arrived for eight-figure transfer fees (I counted four, five including Kagawa), it is academy product Adnan Januzaj that is looking by far the most dangerous of the widemen. During the first half Januzaj again provided much of the danger within the United lineup, with his trickery and dribbling skills looking to be the most likely route though. Quite whether such a young player should be the standout midfielder for one of the biggest, and richest teams in the world is a question fans will be asking all season unless another winger comes good.
This was THE perfect game to let Shinji Kagawa play his favoured position
With Rooney's aforementioned suspension, this was a genuine opportunity for Kagawa to come into the side in his favoured playmaker position. There was a need for someone to replace the Englishman's creative influence, that was all too evident in the lack of decent chances created throughout. And yet the Japan star didn't make the bench due to the sickness he been struggling with since Wednesday. Of course Moyes couldn't play him if he wasn't fit, but the team really struggled to adopt to a formation with two up front and it leaves further questions about where Moyes should go with this group of players.
The uncertainty and lack of confidence surrounding the manager is showing on the pitch
The manager doesn't seem to know what his best midfield is, and he doesn't seem to be demonstrating anything like the ability to switch in players and continue to get results that his predecessor had. Moyes has also been talking publicly about how it takes people time to settle in somewhere when they come into a new job. This may be true, but it is also an admittance that things are not going well, and when players need to feel the confidence and control from their boss in a difficult situation, they aren't. It is a feeling displayed in the team performances, which have been some of the most toothless of the last twenty years.
How long should United persevere with Moyes?
Sir Alex Ferguson told the club and fans to get behind David Moyes even when things didn't seem to be going well. Well they certainly aren't going well and now the question is, how long should they stay behind him? If they continue to struggle into the New Year, should they look for someone else, someone with a proven record managing a top club? Should they wait until the end of the season? What are United's goals for the season at present? Would finishing in the top four be enough of a success to warrant giving Moyes another year? At the moment, the Scot may be finding the ice he's standing on thin and getting thinner.
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