Manchester United half term report - momentum starting to build?

We're halfway through the campaign, and here we look at how Manchester United have done so far this season.

Prediction at the start of the season

We predicted that Manchester United would be in the title race, but fall short. Opinions over their league finish ranged from 2nd to 3rd, so nobody expected them to retain their Premier League title under David Moyes in his first season after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in the Old Trafford hotseat.

How have they been so far?

It’s fair to say they haven’t had the greatest start to life under their new boss in the league – though they do remain in the League Cup and look to have a favourable draw in the last 16 of the Champions League. Champions League qualification is looking more likely but never say never over their league chances, though they can ill afford to drop many more points. They need to build on the momentum they seem to have generated in the latter stages of the first half of the campaign, where they have won four games on the bounce.

Manager rating?

Though you may get lot of mickey-taking for the new United boss every time the side falls behind, they're still in touch with the top - even if they are a little further back than they would like to be, and are in the knockout stages of the Champions League and the in the last four of the Capital One Cup. Solid. 6/10.

Best game they’ve been involved in?

Manchester United 3-2 Stoke City. A game that ebbed and flowed and saw them fall behind twice but eventually came back to win the game - which seemed to have signs of United under Moyes' predecessor. 

Their stand-out player?

Wayne Rooney, without question. Even though he was heavily linked with a move away from the club in the summer, he has been pitching in with the goals - as he is currently their top scorer in the league - whilst the attacking unit is being led and built around him.

New signings – how are they getting on?

Marouane Fellaini was David Moyes' signing and it's safe to say it hasn't been so great for the midfielder who followed his manager from Goodison Park, he's struggled to adapt and Manchester United's record when the Belgian has played does not make for pretty reading.

Wilfred Zaha was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson but with David Moyes the first manager to get his hands on him and he has yet to really give the young winger a chance, so it is hard to judge. There is persistent twitter rumour surrounding reasons why he isn't getting a fair crack of the whip, but that seems pretty wide of the mark.

Most significant win of the season?

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal. It was one of those games where David Moyes could show to his doubters that he is capable of winning the big games for Manchester United. Arsenal were the side that were top of the league and were going to be a big test for Moyes, and it's one that his side passed in a tight encounter.

Their low point so far?

Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United/ Manchester United 1-2 West Bromwich Albion. Combine that week where you lose heavily to your nearest rivals before being beaten by a side that is flirting with relegation by the looks of things on their own patch, then it is worst pair of results in the league that United could have wished for.

Where do they need to strengthen in January?

United have looked a little soft in the middle of the park, whilst the ageing pair of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic might need replacing at the heart of the Red Devils' defence. Moyes has also made his intentions clear in his pursuit of Everton's Leighton Baines that he feels the need for a new left-back.

What can we expect from them for the rest of the season?

More of the same or expect them to kick on? It’s an interesting one for United, they have shown flashes of swagger in games they have won comfortably, and have shown some character in games against Stoke City and Hull City that shows they can salvage a pretty solid first season at the helm for David Moyes. 

image: © birdies-perch

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