I 4-1 would not like to be a Manchester United fan by now.
Sure, not the most creative wordplay ever made but it describes what most United fans feel like right after their humiliation of neighbors Manchester City at Etihad. A poor performance from back to front, they were lucky not to lose more than the 4-1 scoreline suggested.
|Fig 1. United talisman Robin van Persie|
United were without lead goalscorer Robin van Persie who was injured. In his place, Danny Welbeck gets a start, but he was ineffective for most parts of the game. Manchester United looked very blunt without the Dutch striker and it seems at times Wayne Rooney was driving the team forward on his own. No RvP, no party.
Enough with the background. Let us start the ranting shall we?
Let us start from the most worrying aspect of the team; the wingers. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. One is more right-sided than a hardcore Republican, the other confuses a swimming pool with a penalty box. I am amazed how they are still getting game time when we almost lost the league last season because of our lack-lustured wingers. Valencia reverting to his old #25 shirt did not convert to his old form, while Ashley Young has done absolutely nothing since his double against Arsenal 3 YEARS AGO in that 8-2 win at Old Trafford.
|Fig 2. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, in their better playing days.|
It is amazing how Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj, who impressed in pre-season, did not even make the bench. We still even have Nani, the least disappointing winger last season, and he didn't move from the dugout. Manager David Moyes should try and give these three players more chances then Valencia and Young. Heck, I saw the Indonesia U-19s match before this and their wingers were MORE effective then what I witnessed at Etihad.
Most United fans would argue that Shinji Kagawa needs to play too. He has shown what he could do back in his Dortmund days and glimpses of that talent came out last season when he wasn't injured that much. Marouane Fellaini sure is a physical player, but the Japanese playmaker would give the team more creativity - a thing that lacked so much in the Manchester derby. Kagawa isn't even a winger and I bet that he would have given a better performance than Young or Valencia.
|Fig 3. Shinji Kagawa pleading his case to be played.|
Our defense was quite terrible as well. You don't leave out criticism for the defenders if you concede 4 goals. The marking was poor, the efforts were woeful, and the organization was just as bad. Rio Ferdinand might have the experience, but his legs aren't quite what they used to be. Nemanja Vidic has always been a brick wall, but he was beaten time and time again by Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo. Not to mention the declining Patrice Evra or the unlucky Chris Smalling on left-back and right-back respectively. Moyes, again, has a lot of homework to do.
During the match, after conceding a fourth, in need of goals, Moyes decides to bring on Tom Cleverley for the ineffective Ashley Young. I think Cleverley is a great player, but not a player you rely on to make or score a goal. Considering Moyes had Kagawa, Nani, and Javier Hernandez as well on the bench, he puts Cleverley. What's worse was that was the only substitution David Moyes made in the game. It reminded me when England was trailing Germany 1-4 back in 2010 at the last World Cup, when they were in search of goals, then-England Manager Fabio Capello introduced Emile Heskey. A player DEFINITELY not known for his goalscoring prowess.
|Fig 4. David Moyes looking sharp as ever.|
At times like these, it is easy to blame the gaffer for everything. Sure, Rome wasn't built in a day, but the people would like to see progress. I am definitely behind David Moyes and his tenure here, and I would like to give him time to impress me. But if United keep playing like this for the rest of the season, he needs to change this team from back to front.
But credit is where credit is due, Manchester City had a fine evening. The interchanging of Aguero, Negredo, Samir Nasri, and Jesus Navas were great. They have the greatest spines in England with Joe Hart in goal, Vincent Kompany at the back, Yaya Toure in the middle, and Aguero on top. They will be devastated if they don't win the league, while United will be lucky enough to finish third. Congratulations to Manchester City for taking the bragging rights in town.