As the new season of the English Premier League 2013-14 begins, football fans across England and those following the league are all excited to the core. Critics and fans alike have begun to predict and debate as to who will emerge victorious at the end of the season in May 2014. But all said and done, Manchester United are the defending champions for the next one year.
Since the Premier League 2012-2013 ended in May, the league has seen a lot of changes – new coaches, players, renewed contracts, etc. However, the most notable of them all was the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United FC, who after over 26 years as the head of the club bagged 38 trophies — which include 13 Premier League titles, two UEFA Champions League titles and five FA Cups besides over a dozen of individual awards. And what followed post his retirement at Man U was for the world to see.
David Moyes, another Scot, like Alex Ferguson, was chosen by the man himself to succeed him at the club. A man who had managed Everton FC for a decade was recommended and considered by the former coach as the right man to take care of Manchester United and take it to greater realms of glory.
Moyes could either consider himself the luckiest, or the unluckiest manager in the history of the Premier League. He is lucky for he gets to manage the most successful club in the league history; and unlucky for he is expected to fill the boots of Sir Alex Ferguson, widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time.
And as the Premier League 2013-14 begins, pressure is surely mounting on the Scot considering that Manchester United under him have had a not-so-great pre-season with just two wins out of seven matches played, drawing two and losing three in the process. Winning the Community Shield 2013 though, against Wigan Athletic, will come as a consolation for Moyes considering it was his first official match as a Manager of the club.
So, where does one see David Moyes and Manchester United at the end of the season in May next year? Well, that’s 10 months to go and 38 matches in the Premier League before one sees the results. However, there are some real tough tests that he has to overcome at the club.
Firstly, it is filling up the space, living to the name and the legacy left behind by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Then, considering that Moyes had done well at Everton for a decade, he should be doing better with a stronger side like at Manchester United. And he could finally make a name for himself here.
Winning titles comes in at a close second. At Manchester United you are supposed to win titles and that is all that matters. Not to forget, they have won a record 20 Premier League titles, 13 of them in the new era. Winning has become a way of life at the club and Sir Alex got them into this habit of winning one title after another. David Moyes has to deliver with wins and nothing less. For sure, he will be facing tough opposition from title contenders such as Chelsea FC, the neighbours Manchester City FC, Arsenal and Tottenham to name a few.
Fixtures of the first five matches show how tough it will be for David Moyes at Old Trafford – Man U begin their title defence for the 20th time with Swansea City, Chelsea FC, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Manchester City FC. Chelsea FC and Manchester City are title contenders and Moyes has a tough few games ahead of him.
Keeping Wayne Rooney at the club for at least one more season is another hard test for the Scot.
Rooney, a childhood fan of Everton, started his career at the club under Moyes but was sold off by the Scot to Manchester United almost a decade ago. Since then, the relations between the two have been strained. For the second time, Rooney asked to leave the club when Alex Ferguson was at the helms. Perhaps, he had sensed Moyes’ arrival. With Chelsea FC showing interest in the player and Rooney wanting to join them, Moyes must try to keep him at Manchester United as he is a valuable cog in the United juggernaut.
Moyes’another concern will be the lack of a good midfielder who can control the ball in the area and make box-to-box passes. Michael Carrick at 32 is the only man on whom he can depend on. But what if Carrick gets injured?
Midfield is an area that Man U is currently weak at. Moyes missed out on Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas— players who could have made an impact in the centre. This means he has to try the various options available with him now – Anderson, Tom Cleverly, Shinji Kagawa.
In his own words, ‘I think the Premier League is going to be a little bit more unpredictable than it’s been in the past. I just hope the predictability about it is that Manchester United are beating everybody you expect them to beat.’
Well, Moyes sure is expected to win games and titles. But he also has a legacy to live up at the club. He has to prove to all, to Sir Alex Ferguson, the club, fans, opponents and critics that he is worthy of the post, that is being the Manager of Manchester United FC.
To sum it up in short, the ‘real test’ for David Moyes at Manchester United begins now.