After 20 years of pre-eminence, Manchester United fans are in a quagmire of depression, in the wake of another home defeat to a team that they were expected to beat. Take nothing away from Everton, who were exceedingly bright.
Indeed, in Ross Barkley, they have exactly what Manchester United need and lack – namely dynamism in the centre of midfield. Hindsight is always 20/20 but surely, surely Moyes must have considered spending the Fellaini money on Barkley instead? Another abject performance from The Belgian highlighted the fact that United are £30m worse off but no better in the middle of the park.
So here is the good news. With Manchester United playing so poorly they are more likely than ever to spend big in the January transfer window. It’s not traditionally an ideal time to spend but, with Champions League qualification for next season now seriously under threat, Manchester United have little choice but to attempt to bring in 2 or 3 top players. A club which is run so strictly like a business will be painfully aware of the financial ramifications of finishing lower than fourth. But after a dismal autumn that is now a realistic possibility.
It’s not yet time to expect the end of the empire in Liverpool proportions. Manchester United can still have success in The Champions League and the domestic cups. But not playing like that they won’t.
Unless Moyes addresses the hole in the centre of his midfield Manchester United are in deep trouble. They have decent quality around the edges but are useless in the centre. Phil Jones and Micheal Carrick will strengthen that area upon return, but neither has the sort of mobility, dribbling skill or positivity that we saw from Barkley last night. While he broke, time and again with menace through the middle, 40 year old Ryan Giggs was left to carry the fight for Manchester United.
After 70 minutes Manchester United looked knackered. The reason for this? They don’t control possession like they used to so they have to expend more energy closing down and winning the ball back.
Manchester United are largely ok in defence and attack. But the need for better quality wide men is pressing and they are desperately short in the centre of the park. These weaknesses need to be addressed urgently and Moyes doesn’t have the money or time to buy the wrong players again.
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