24 Sep 2013

Outfought, Outplayed, Outclassed, A Harsh Lesson For Moyes

It's a horrible feeling losing a Manchester derby, much more so at this current time, because this fixture has more importance and significance when the curtain is brought down to signal the end of the Premier League season.

Also living in Manchester, means you can expect a little bit of stick from a few City supporters who you are friends with or work alongside , it's part and parcel of a local derby, local bragging rights are at stake.

As the ink started to dry on the freshly printed Premier League fixture list, we knew that after a quick glimpse at the first 5 games, that this was going to be a difficult start.

Manchester United are traditionally a bit slow out of the traps, so many of their past title triumphs under Sir Alex Ferguson involved the team putting in incredible runs around and after the Christmas period, there would be no easy start for David Moyes as he set about the toughest job in world football, the impossible dream.

At the Etihad on Sunday, David Moyes took charge of his first Manchester Derby game, it's a game he will want to erase from his memory, but one that realistically, he will never forget.

To be brutally honest, United were outfought, outplayed and outclassed on every single blade of the Etihad grass in this match, it was heartbreaking as a Manchester United supporter, this was a game we were never in, as a contest it was more or less over as Howard Webb blew into his whistle to signal the half time interval.

It was a huge blow to lose Robin van Persie to injury prior to the match, but United should have the strength and depth in their squad to deal with it, but as I drowned my sorrows at half time at the Etihad with a pint, I got the feeling there was more to come from City, they were a team with the bit between their teeth.

It was clear Moyes needed to change something, but you just had the feeling that City were more up for this, they were winning the battle all over the pitch, it's not often I would question commitment, but City certainly seemed to want it more, YaYa Toure took the game by the scruff of the neck, bossing the centre of the park, leaving recent United signing Fellaini chasing shadows.

Things went from bad to worse as 2 goals in the first 5 minutes of the second half, left United with an impossible task, 4-0 with 40 minutes of the game left was disastrous, it could've been worse in the end, a late Wayne Rooney proved little consolation, this was an embarrassment, too many players simply didn't turn up for this game.

Probably the saddest image of the day, as a United supporter, was David Moyes, head slumped in his hands, looking like a man who had been well and truly beaten, some would try convincing you that it was the look of a man totally out of his depth, I don't subscribe to that opinion, he is only 5 games into his managerial career at Old Trafford.

This was a harsh lesson for Moyes, tactically he was completely outwitted by Manuel Pellegrini, it won't get any easier for the Scotsman, the media are gathering like vultures, waiting, hoping for him to fail at Manchester United, it's how he responds from this that will be an interesting spectacle.

United have some winnable fixtures in the pipeline, its been a very difficult start for David Moyes, he will learn from this lesson, and looking at the bigger picture, United are currently 3 points behind the 2 teams that I would've expected to be challenging for the title come the start of May 2014.

Moyes, during his time at Everton, never had the luxury of having such a strong pool of players to choose from, one of Sir Alex Ferguson's strengths as a manger was rotating his squad and keeping players fresh and happy, this is something that his successor quickly needs to get to grips with, it's part of modern day football.

United have already played Chelsea at Old Trafford, and Liverpool and Manchester City away, the disappointment, that they have only claimed a single point from those fixtures, these are fixtures that prove to be most important, there is a long way to go in this Premier League season.

It's only just got started, lets put this down to a very bad day at the office, a lesson that David Moyes will learn quickly from, this could be the wake up call Manchester United need to kick-start their season, next up, it's the small matter of Liverpool in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford.