22 September 2013
Here are my thoughts on a telling Sunday of Premier League action.
Three Big Games Is Pattern Enough
You could half forgive Moyes for the setup against Chelsea since Chelsea set up to finish the game 0-0. You can't forgive how lethargic Manchester United played against Liverpool. After watching the Manchester Derby, the set ups now show a pattern that should make any Manchester United fan seriously question their manager.
With Robin Van Persie injured, one would assume that starting Shinji Kagawa would almost be automatic. Instead, Kagawa was an unused substitute in the 18. In the three big games Manchester United have had in the league this season, Kagawa has not seen a second of action. Sir Alex Ferguson saw his worth of both busting up play and his ability to link the midfield to either Rooney or Robin Van Persie. The value that brings to a side was sorely missing today.
Instead David Moyes played two players who looked completely out of his depth. While Fellaini may have had his better games for Everton against Manchester City, he looked like a clueless midfielder who couldn't connect a pass or track back fast enough on City counter attacks. Both Ferguson's and Moyes's fascination with playing Ashley Young has become absurd bordering on insanity. I hate to put this bluntly, but Ashley Young is not a player that is of the caliber a top team should have. Young isolated himself too often, gave away the ball more often than he distributed it and generally looked disinterested on the pitch.
It has to be asked of everyone with the exception of Wayne Rooney; does anyone at Manchester United care anymore? Wayne Rooney was the only player on the pitch that looked like he wanted to win. Even with RVP on the pitch I don't think Manchester United had enough to get goals. I'm convinced the only reason United even got their lone consolation goal was because Manchester City too so long to sub Aguero out late, Wayne Rooney had time to decide what he was going to do with that free kick.
One final scary thought for Manchester United is looking at the bench, there is no impact player that can come off and not be treated as a like for like sub. David Moyes failed to address that this summer, and it has shown in their three major games at the start of this season. Had they played Kagawa in any of those matches, there's a good chance they get more than 1 point from the 9 on offer.
The start of the season did Manchester United no favors. However, David Moyes's approach to treat the start of the season like he did every season at Everton is winning him no additional fans. It's okay to start slowly at a club with limited resources and finish around the Europa League places. It's not okay to start slowly at Manchester United, when trophies are the expectation and not the norm. Since the Premier League has gone to 38 games, no side has won the title after getting 7 points from the first 5 fixtures. While it isn't a league fixture, the League Cup tie against Liverpool on Wednesday just became a must win for Manchester United.
Other Thoughts from Today's Action
* Today could be a defining day for Tottenham Hotspur. In years past, Spurs would have either drawn 0-0, or lose 1-0. The late substitution to bring on Lewis Holtby was a major factor in Tottenham getting a late goal. He helped shut Cardiff down late in the midfield and keep the play in Tottenham's attacking half. The only concern I have for Tottenham right now is that they need too many chances before they score. Spurs can get away with that when they play sides like Cardiff City, but they didn't when they played Arsenal. They might not get away with it either if Jose Mourinho is motivated next weekend.
* Three names stand out to me for Manchester City today. Vincent Kompany's return was simply impressive. He shut down Manchester United through the middle. Samir Nasri had one of his better performances in a Manchester City shirt. Finally, when United was starting to make some minor waves forward, James Milner's substitution immediately shut that down. It should also be said that once Manchester City got a grip of this game, they didn't let it go.
* I feel for David Marshall. For 92 minutes, he was simply flawless. Marshall's one mistake was over committing to the byline cross late, which allowed Paulinho to back heel the ball into an empty net.
* Ozil continues to prove his worth for Arsenal, creating all three Arsenal goals from set pieces today. While that's good for the time being, someone else needs to help him out in the distribution for goals department. Arsenal's reaction on a whole after giving up the equalizer was also worth noting. It is already improved over opening day. Furthermore, it was greatly improved over years past. It was almost a full circle moment to see Ramsey score against Stoke City as well.
* Swansea City didn't have to do much to get two early half goals to see Crystal Palace off. I know it's early in the season, but is Crystal Palace already counting the minutes before they're back in the Championship?