More questions for Moyes after Swansea shocker

the worst aspect for Manchester United was that — yet again — nobody could say it had not been coming.

Three times in the last ten minutes, Swansea attempted the same move, which saw Wayne Routledge run at stand-in right-back, Darren Fletcher, before crossing, specifically trying to pick out Wilfried Bony.

Despite the warnings, United were still powerless to do anything about the forward’s 90th-minute goal which secured a 2-1 win for the Swans.



Old Trafford is a curious place to visit at the moment. There is an unmistakable air of trepidation and flatness about the place, with that atmosphere not only reflecting the home team’s style of play, but also emboldening so many visiting sides.

For all the fanfare about how long Everton and Newcastle had waited to win here, Swansea went back even further: this was the first time the club had ever beaten United in their history. The fact so many of these momentous wins are coming in quick succession would appear to sum up the complete absence of any kind of intimidation at Old Trafford.

One of the concerns is that so little happened for United in the opening few minutes. Although they had the majority of possession, the minimal amount they did with it was illustrated by the fact Chris Smalling was on the ball more than anyone else and variously found himself in playmaking positions.

If that takes Moyes’ utter attacking reliance on full-backs crossing from deep to a rather absurd conclusion, it was no coincidence that United’s only goal came from an Alexander Buttner centre that Javier Hernandez finished.

Four minutes before that, Swansea played the best football of the game with a three-pass move from back to front that completely opened United up and allowed Wayne Routledge to score the opening goal.

While United did illustrate admirable resilience to immediately respond and equalise, particularly given the mounting gloom after the New Year’s Day defeat to Tottenham, Moyes could only lament their inability to build on it.

Let’s be fair. In the grander scheme of things, the scale of an event like Ferguson’s retirement was always going to lead to an array of different problems, many of them beyond Moyes’ control. Furthermore, on any day, any team would be weakened by the absence of players like Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

At the same time, though, none of that should lead to so many performances as flat as this and so many defeats as defining as this. The absence of those two stars is mitigated by the reality that this campaign has seen so many similar performances despite one of the duo actually playing.

For one, there is that style of play. If it feels like this is the question we keep coming back to, that is because the ball keeps coming back at Manchester United. That should never be the case.

The team’s only attacking template seems to be to get the ball wide and then get the cross in: pass, pass, pass, cross, create chance/repeat.

The disconcerting consequence of that is not just that it makes the team so drably predictable, but that it actually creates uncertainty further back. The fewer chances you manufacture, the more you will inevitably have to defend.

It is football with limits, at one of the few clubs in the world where there should be none. It says so much that the only source of excitement for the home side was the introduction of an 18-year-old: Adnan Januzaj.

“I said I would try, that it probably would be doubtful because of the window. If you read the small print that’s what I said… there’s an urgency that we’d like to bring people in but are those players available in January? So there’s no point in me hyping it up, the players we want to bring in are not available, not because we don’t want but because they’re not available.”

The next question, however, is whether Moyes’ tactics would actually be able to properly avail of any good purchases? At the moment, things are that bad, even in a recent winning run against a succession lowly teams.

“In my world,” Laudrup stated, “they are still a big team.”

They are no longer a winning one.

Source: ESPN

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