Tag: Manchester United

Where Does The Buck Stop At Old Trafford At The Moment?

Upon reflection, it wasn’t so much the fact of Manchester United’s two home defeats in the space of four days as the manner of them. At almost any pont in the last twenty-one years or so, Manchester United would have swatted the likes of Everton and Newcastle United aside in the manner of an elephant dealing with a troublesome mosquito but the last few days have been different. It’s difficult to remember more toothless back-to-back performances by a Manchester United team in recent years, and if supporters of the club might have been able to chalk last week’s loss against Everton down as being a bad day at the office which ended with being struck firmly on the jaw by the visitors, this afternoon’s Manchester United performance was even more difficult to find mitigating circumstances for. Yohan Cabaye’s goal for Newcastle United at Old Trafford today came with a third of the match left to play, but United offered practically nothing in response to this. There was no tension as the clock ran down, none of the sense of inevitability that would hang over a match when Manchester United were encamped around a penalty area, pushing and prodding for a late goal. The spell that hung over Old Trafford for so many years has, it has felt over the last few days, been broken. Away teams no longer arrive...

Read More

The Season Is Young, But Time Is Not On David Moyes’ Side

We are only six matches into the Premier League season, but the remaining thirty-two matches must feel like a mountain to climb for the already beleagured Manchester United manager David Moyes as he surveys the wreckage of last Saturday’s home defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. Over the course of the last week and a half or so, the wheels on his wagon have started to look extremely rickety indeed and the faint but distinctive smell of panic is already starting to settle over the more skittish element of the club’s support. How long might it be, we might reasonably wonder, before the “David Moyes is incompetent” trope becomes The Thing About David Moyes? Time, it is already starting to feel, may be beginning to run out. It is worth reminding ourselves of the reasons why Moyes was appointed into the managerial position at Old Trafford in the first place. His record at Everton was not perfect, but Alex Ferguson saw traits in him that clearly indicated to him that he was the right man to succeed him in this potentially thorny role. The problem with the managerial succession at Manchester United, however, is that expectations have been inflated to such an extent by more than twenty years of almost uninterrupted success that there is no room for a transitional period, as we are seeing now. Three...

Read More

Manchester City Shine A Harsh Light On Manchester United’s Shortcomings

It’s early days, of course, not that this will provide much comfort to Manchester United supporters this evening. This afternoon at The Etihad Stadium, David Moyes’ team was blown away by his cross-city rivals, a performance which leaves the defending champions with just two wins from their first five matches of the season and in eighth place in the Premier League table and, in the world of instant gratification that modern football has become, there will doubtlessly be those who will start to wonder whether the end of Alex Ferguson’s era in charge of the club might just be the the end of something altogether more profound. As time passes, empires tend to fall, and some may already be wondering whether signs of this crumbling are already starting to become evident. “No” is the probable to answer to this question, but it won’t stop the tetchy, the angry and those with a hair-trigger finger from being the most likely to be heard over the next few days. But Manchester United’s shortcomings are only one part of the story of this afternoon’s match. Just as Manchester United lost a manager during the summer, so did Manchester City and, whilst there had been concerns previously that Manuel Pellegrini seemed to be struggling to get the most from his players, this afternoon his team’s performance was one which more than met the...

Read More

Liverpool Edge The Clash Of The Titans

One nil to the Liverpool. For the third consecutive time this season Liverpool won by a single goal in the Premier League, but these three points may well prove to be worth more than the other six were. Manchester United, albeit a flat, lifeless Manchester United playing in the manner of a facsimile of the team that cantered to the Premier League championship last season, were the vanquished team this afternoon, ending a run of four matches without a win in this most vituperative of local derbies and providing a glimpse of one team that finally seems to be turning a corner and one that showed an unnerving lack of conviction for a match of such importance. The goal that settled the match came early, and was scored by one of the greenest shoots of Liverpool’s season so far. After just three minutes had been played, a corner from the right was headed goal-wards and Sturridge, displaying both presence of mind and intelligence, flicked the ball between the two defenders on the goal line and in to give Liverpool the lead. After such an opening and such a trail in the days building up to the match, we have expected further fireworks, but this was a game that never caught light and at full-time the volume rose from the crowd to a crescendo as much from a sense of...

Read More

Liverpool & Manchester United: A Tale Of Two Cities

Tomorrow afternoon at Anfield, Liverpool and Manchester United will take the pitch for their first meeting of the season. When broadcasters talk in cliché about the passion and suchlike of the game in this country, it is for these matches that the volume levels reach their apotheosis and for the two clubs to be meeting this early in the season will show a global audience a visceral edge to the Premier League that we haven’t yet seen this season. But over the last couple of decades this rivalry has at times become something more poisonous. A swivel-eyed minority with a tendency to shout the loudest have frequently come to hijack the narrative of a fixture which carries a subtext that reaches far beyond the mere watching of a sport. Liverpool versus Manchester United is a story of two different cultures that grew both together and apart out of the crucible that was the industrial revolution, but it’s also a story of two football clubs that have as much in common as they have differences. These are two of the great institutions of English football, with stories stretching back to the nineteenth century which touch upon both triumph and tragedy, at different parts in the history of our game, they have dominated the landscape like behemoths, breaking records and holding their own amongst the very best in the world. And...

Read More