Plain and simple, United were heads above Real Sociedad this past Tuesday and were wasteful to not secure three points. In the draw, four things were obvious: David Moyes’ boys still lack the ambition and fight of Fergie’s past teams, Fellaini should have been subbed and is making no friends with his play, Kagawa is finally finding his form, and finally, without Michael Carrick, United’s midfield looks no better than Hull’s. By Max Holm.
The reason fans all around the world fell in love with Fergie’s boy’s is not because they possessed some of the best players around who played a free, attacking style of football. They fell in love with these teams because they never said die, hated losing, and wore their hearts on their sleeves. Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney are two prime examples of this mentality. The Keane of then, like Rooney now, played with heart, hustle and sometimes a temper, but showed fans that they cared and would bleed for the club. This isn’t to say that an entire squad or even entire starting eleven needs this characteristic, this relentless passion, but it needs to be more than the seldom few who show in Moyes’ side. Thus, this brings Moyes to a crossroads.
He has managed less than 20 games thus far and probably needs more time to establish a formidable reputation. It appears that at this current time the players aren’t playing for him, mostly due to this lack of fight and tenacity. Whether this is on Moyes or the players is unclear, although it is likely a combination of the two. Ultimately, it means David Moyes has a huge task ahead of him. Failure is inexcusable at Old Trafford so he needs to right the ship and get the players to believe, or bring in players who want to wear the red devil’s badge and play like it’s life or death, like we saw under the past administration. If a player didn’t play well or hard enough under Fergie he got subbed and dropped. United need a shakeup, a wakeup call. And this may force David Moyes to clean out his house. On to the game against Sociedad:
Tuesday night’s stalemate in Spain saw an unusual pairing of Ryan Giggs and Marouanne Fellaini in the middle of the park. This pairing was caused by injuries to Carrick and Cleverley and United’s thin quality in the middle of the park shown bright in this game. With so much attention drawn to Wayne Rooney, United’s midfield carries the burden to be creative and create chances. Ryan Giggs was too slow against the Spanish side to pick a killer pass, despite having an alright game, and Fellaini continued his abysmal start to his Old Trafford career.
The $27.5 million man is looking more and more lost with each passing game. He was caught in possession on many occasions, did not do a great job of protecting the back four, and offered nothing whatsoever going forward. On top of that, he was so reckless he got sent off and was lucky to not be dismissed much earlier. The problem isn’t that Fellaini is a dirty player necessarily, but that he’s reckless and doesn’t appear to think much on the pitch. Moyes is partially to blame here; he should have got Phil Jones in there much earlier. It’s arguably fair to say he should have been subbed at the half.
As for United’s wingers, they fared far better than the men in central midfield. Valencia had a solid game, especially defensively, but never found a killer cross on the right wing. On the opposite side of the field was United’s man of the match, Shinji Kagawa. He was caught in possession a few times early on but he played with a flair and energy that any and all United fans could appreciate. He linked up brilliantly with Patrice Vera, had a few shots on goal and should have had an assist when his perfectly weighted cross was uncharacteristically sailed over the net from 6 yards out by Chicharito. Early on in the second half Moyes took off the front pair of Hernandez and Rooney, deploying Ashley Young on the left and moving Kagawa to his favored number 10 role, behind Robin van Persie.
Kagawa then proceeded to excel in his central role, carving up the Sociedad defense and being right in the middle of United’s chances in the second half. RVP had a very un-RVP like game as Kagawa’s creativity went to waste. RVP hit the post on an acute angle and then hit the post again from the penalty spot after United were given a lucky break following a bad dive by Ashley Young.
The most discouraging fact is that no one on the red side took the game by the scruff, saying “c’mon lads let’s win this.” That will have to change for United to win more games and get back into the title race. Kagawa shined on a disappointing night where United should have taken all three points and should be in consideration to start this Sunday in a massive game at Old Trafford against Arsenal, but 3 points for United could turn the critics into crickets and bring back confidence that United are far from rolling over.