Manchester United were handed a reality check in the last couple of weeks as they absolutely decimated by their city rivals in the much awaited Manchester derby and then got handed an eye opener as they slumped to another defeat at home against West Bromwich Albion. David Moyes got his first taste of a derby defeat and though, one can feel for him for having had to face Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the first five games of the season, earning one point from these three fixtures is hardly the way Manchester United gets rolling.
United fans comparing this loss to Ferguson’s debut Manchester derby where he was handed a 5-1 defeat should remember that Ferguson had taken over a breaking and crumbling Manchester United and not league winners for 20 times. There is still every chance that Moyes may still fulfill all the hopes invested in him by his predecessor, but for that he would quickly have to buckle up and move away from the small club notion and lead United with an aura of a team that has achieved everything there is to speak of.
The lackluster display at Etihad and then at Old Trafford would have had the players fearing Fergie’s wrath and though City and West Brom were the better teams on the days, there was a lack of ambition among the Red Devils. While Kolarov and Zabaleta strutted down the left and right wings for City, Valencia and Young jogged down the flanks to take defensive cover. Maraoune Fellaini looked lost in the middle of the ground, and for him to become a fan favorite at Old Trafford, he must quickly change his attitude from being Everton’s star player to United’s responsible midfielder. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are no longer the strongest defensive pairing for United while Smalling at right back is a disaster as Nasri and Kolarov exposed during the Manchester derby. True, that United were hampered by the loss of Van Persie and Rooney for crucial games but Danny Welbeck’s form in the past couple of games showed that he still has a couple of years left before becoming a world class striker.
It remains a mystery why Moyes persists with Young over Kagawa on the left flank while Januzaj has shown sparks of brilliance in the limited playing time that he has got. A positive for United is that with a series of not so difficult games lined up and with Rafael, Van Persie and Rooney returning from injuries, Moyes will be looking to pick up maximum points from these without any slip-ups and work their way to the top half of the table.
It all begins at the Stadium of Light this weekend!