Just as I was sitting in a pub for a Red Devil game against Gunner, one of my friends said "United have become a curry without masala" and the only thing I could give was a sarcastic smile. Having followed this club so closely that was the only emotion I could have afford. The win against Arsenal was a testament that United are on the right track, fighting back with their never say die spirit.
People thought Moyes had stepped into the wrong shoe and just when he was about to be called a misfired bullet, he showed what he is capable of. It was always difficult for someone to take the position of Sir Alex Fergusson who was just one in kind, his presence itself was dreading to the opponents. Moyes always needed some time to assess the team on the field but to his pain he had all stalwarts lined up during the early stages of the league. The inevitable happened and the club was humiliated back to back. Champions played like minnows and the Old Trafford was shocked. As a United fan we have faced far more humiliation, but this time it was different - we were without the legend.
The time had arrived for the critics to open their cannons over David Moyes. There was an air of dismay around, calling him up a manager with little tactical knowledge. People were not wrong in doing so as they were the same player who had done excellent for the club in the past and were not clicking this time.
Having a daunting task of moulding and blending his ideas into the established foundations of Old Trafford was always going to be a difficult job. Moyes had to transform from being a tactically defensive manager at Everton to an attacking one, not that he was not one but with the quality he had at Goodison Park that was never possible. Not only him but also for the club it was a phase for transition.
It had all started well against Swansea city but the analytical changes made by Moyes seemed to have started changing the rhythm on field in the upcoming matches. United were just not that aggressive enough and the performance only came out in spurts which was the reason the team struggled against the better opponents. It were just the individuals who were playing and the team as a unit wasn’t performing well.
The midfield lacked creativity and basics such as link play, passing, pressing and tempo were missing and needed addressing. The aging defense was exposed against Manchester City which completely fell apart against the likes of swift Aguero and Nasri.
But this was just the moment Moyes had to be given a pat on the back. He kept trying his options, changing existing patterns in the team. He was backed by the existing bench strength of United. Adnan Janujaz`s dream start for the club was just that moment which you can replicate with Rooney`s start at Everton under Moyes as the manager.
More use of Kagawa from a left winger position to float into the central position with tactical use of him, Rooney and Janujaz allowing them to interchange positions as a roaming `3` has lifted the tempo up. Jones` performance as a centre half against Arsenal would definitely have given Moyes a fair idea about how to utilize this youngster with the likes of Carrick and Vidic. With Wilfred Zaha, Johny Evans and Rafael in the side, there is no doubt that these players are in the bigger scheme of things. It also suggests that Moyes has begun to get the measure of his squad and how best to deploy them.
The win against Arsenal would definitely be a morale booster for the team giving an immense sense of self-confidence. But the best moment of the club so far was the last 20 min display of play against Stoke City. It looked the same old United which had the never give up attitude. It was one of the best tactical moves made by Moyes where he just did a Fergie by getting in Hernandez and attacking with 4-3-3 formation which ultimately lead to two goals and was the deciding factor in the game.
A lot has been said about inefficient management of Moyes in getting the new signings for the club at the start of the season. I wouldn`t agree to the criticism. He has worked wonders in slim budget during his last reign as the manager and being a very astute observer, his idea was to assess the players on bench rather spending too much of funds on off way signings. It was always known the club was in great need of a midfielder, for the fact that the deal with Cesc Fabregas didn`t go to his expectation, he made it up by getting Marouani Fellaini whom he had nurtured in his reign at Everton.
Although Fellaini hasn`t yet replicated his form at Everton but that was expected when a signing is made at the dying moments of deadline. But seeing his capabilities in the past, we can be rest assured that best of him is yet to come.
After his fair assessment, it is well known now that the management has opened up their bank for the January transfers and we shouldn`t be surprised if some big names in the midfield or defence join the club. It is a phase of transitions for United and they have always followed history of slowly transiting out older players with respect and getting younger bloods, and this is what’s happening now with the new deal to Janujaz, and Kagawa, Smalling and Jones getting the first team starts more often.
If we see throughout this time, the biggest winners have been the fans, who have stood by the club like anything.
This was the testing time for the fans but they always knew with Sir Bobby and Sir Alex upstairs situation was always under the control. This is the only club where a manager can expect a standing applause even by losing at the home ground. I was myself amused to see that happening after the game against West Bromwich and Moyes even accepting it with a wave of hand. This shows the kind of faith he enjoys here.
It’s not that every year a manager of 27 years leaves a club. No doubt it has been a shaky start for the season but if we see it retrospectively, that was an important lesson for the club and United can only climb up from this position. I`m sure the Red Devils would ultimately get it right as they have always done in the past. They are the King of come backs and though they don’t have the quality of players in the field now, they just have that right blend of attitude which can definitely pull them to the top.