If Manchester United manager David Moyes is looking for a silver lining he may not find it the form of his side’s fixtures throughout the rest of December – and then comes January.
There is no doubt that Moyes, if not exactly under pressure from the Manchester United board, must certainly be falling under increased scrutiny. Five defeats already this season, and the champions are a whopping 13 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.
United’s next two league challenges come at Aston Villa and Stoke City, never easy contests, before they host West Ham United, visit Hull City and entertain Norwich City.
If Moyes has not arrested his side’s slump by the turn of the year, there is little doubt that the current rumblings of discontent will have escalated to a campaign to get him out.
And on January 1, the Scot takes his team to play Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas knows all about pressure. His side’s 2-2 draw against Manchester United a week ago in all likelihood saved him from the sack following the debacle of Tottenham’s 6-0 defeat against Manchester City.
Having himself seemed on the brink of being shown the exit door, Villas-Boas has since engineered wins over Fulham and Sunderland that have eased the calls for him to be replaced.
And having done so, could he turn out to be the man who finally costs Moyes his job?
Spurs once again seem set to climb the Premier League table back towards the top four, and will have little to feat at Old Trafford, a ground where they won last season.
There is every chance that come the meeting between the two sides on New Year’s Day, it will be a pivotal occasion for Moyes, not Villas-Boas.
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