Column: David Moyes, Manchester United struggling mightily
In the confines of my dorm room, I sat in darkness as Manchester United fell once again. 1-0 to Olympiacos...2-0 to Olympiacos.
The damage was done on Tuesday evening in Greece and if a soccer supporter was asked two years ago if United would come back in the second leg at Old Trafford, the answer would be "yes," without any hesitation of the doubt.
But now, under David Moyes, it appears match outcomes have become quite unpredictable. Even the historic fan-zine United We Stand written by ESPN writer and Manchester United know-all, Andy Mitten, has thrown on the front pages that United's performances have become just that-unpredictable.
Whether it be lack of effort or managerial faults, Manchester United have struggled quite mightily this season. All over the park, passes are going astray, players look utterly lost and United's crosses into the box have been simply poor. While United currently sit in sixth place and far removed from the top of the Premier League, there still remains hope amongst the supporters in Manchester and worldwide. And despite the lack of support from some in regards to the manager, United's historic trophy-filled seasons should keep the worrying minds occupied while the Reds-transition into a new footing under Moyes-if he lasts at Old Trafford.
Along with the lack of creativity and points in the Premier League, numerous players have struggled. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, both of whom have been steady figures in the heart of defense in Manchester, are ready to depart. With the Serbian captain leaving this summer (likely to Inter Milan), it would appear it's time for the younger generation to take a stronghold; Phil Jones and Jonny Evans must step in with intent.
While some, myself included, have doubted Ed Woodward and his ability to sign top-notch players, Woodward proved us wrong weeks ago. Marouane Fellaini has struggled mightily with injury, but the Juan Mata move was splendid. However, Mata is not a left midfielder-he's best served in the center of the park used as a more creative figure much like Santi Cazorla or even David Silva.
But Manchester United have signed Wayne Rooney until 2019 and are paying him about £300,000 per week. And what Rooney wants, Rooney gets. As he should.
Throw aside the transfer requests in 2010 and this past summer, Rooney has been United's most consistent performer. He's overloaded the box, pressed United onwards when no one else has wanted to, and quite honestly, Rooney has defended better than 2/3 of the Manchester United defensive players this season. Goal after goal, rash challenge after rash challenge, the "white Pele" is falling into his own. Just as he can score goals in opportune situations, his delivering is gut-wrenching for his opposition as he finds the head and feet of Adnan Januzaj, Patrice Evra, Ferdinand and Robin van Persie.
Which brings us to our final point as to why United may be struggling more than necessary-the not-so-flying Dutchman. Robin van Persie recently stated to European news outlets the rest of the United squad are getting the ball in positions he usually is. His thoughts concerning an overloaded pitch are certainly understandable. However, as Rooney and Michael Carrick drove for one last push against Arsenal in the final minute of stoppage time, van Persie shut up shop. His unwillingness to run or even pass to Rooney is quite heartbreaking.
Simply put, there's no singling out any Manchester United player, but rather a call to action to find some solace in this season before it's too late.
The odds are against United to come from 2-0 down on aggregate in the Champions League second leg against Olympiacos. And without question, this is United's most important match of the season.
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