David Moyes could go a long way to revitalising his position as Manchester United boss this evening.
The last article I wrote was on the 13th August, 2013. It was a wildly speculative piece, if I’m honest, about Sir Alex Ferguson playing out his last, great, mind game and how he was setting up United for the return of Ronaldo, leading Chelsea up the garden path in their hunt for Rooney, and providing David Moyes with a great platform on which to build his own new legacy at the Theatre of Dreams.
It was full of more hope than one would dare to dream about. The only thing I got right was that Wayne Rooney stayed, although not in the way that I’d suggested.
Ever since I wrote that article, I’ve watched United in awe. Not the kind of awe that I’m used to. Moyes has lurched from bad result to bad result, breaking records along the way that were never meant to be broken, at least not in quick succession.
I’ve watched this Manchester United side play football without pace, tempo, creativity and with no mind to attack, attack, attack. They’ve looked like Everton, not the new Everton, full of creativity and attack, but the old Everton that managed respectable league finishing places, within the top 10.
I don’t understand why the better part of £70 million has been spent on a midfielder that no other Premier League club was knocking on Everton’s door for, and another creative attacking midfielder that’s been played out of position.
I don’t understand why Moyes’ first action, upon entering the club, was to remove all the coaching staff and bring in a rookie. Phil Neville may become one of the greatest coaches in the game, but he’s got a long way to go and he’s not proven, surely Old Trafford isn’t a club where you earn your stripes.
I don’t understand why Moyes insisted that he needed a new left-back! Why be so specific? He may as well have said: “Patrice, I don’t rate you, I want you to leave, and I need anyone but you to fill that role.”
Patrice Evra has been a good servant to United and I don’t think he needed to be treated with such a lack of respect. There’s no class in that, coupled with the fact that he wasn’t able to acquire a replacement and now relies on the man he so obviously didn’t want.
There has been a glimmer of hope recently, they got the result in the Champions League that nobody expected them to get, and they had a good performance against West Ham, albeit should have scored more goals to make it comfortable.
Nobody is going to forget the humiliation that Liverpool dished out in spades at Old Trafford, what an abject display from a Manchester United side, the like of which can surely never happen again. Or can it? Could it happen tonight, perhaps?
If City come to Old Trafford tonight, and Moyes’ inability to tactically control, and ultimately win the tie, is once again exposed, then I think he’s as good as gone.
If City beat United by a landslide of goals then I think any hope of defeating Bayern Munich will all but be extinguished as will any light from this dismal first season in charge for the Scotsman.
On the other side of that coin, if United take control of the game, if their tactics do prove superior, and they win this match, then Moyes may well have pulled the rabbit out of the hat that he so desperately needs.
It will reignite the hope within the Old Trafford faithful that they can dare to dream again, maybe Munich could be defeated over two legs, and if that did indeed come to pass, then there’s nothing out of the question after that for Moyes and his beleaguered team.
Football is indeed a funny old game and stranger things have happened, but after my last article, I’m cautioning myself from getting wildly speculative again, so without making any mad predictions, I’ll just wait for tonight, watch the match, and see what happens.
Let’s just hope it’s a good game of football, and more importantly, a match.