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The Month: The longest February in existence

There was no The Month in January for three reasons: it was, admittedly, forgotten about until fairly late, then there was the lack of time anyway, because you know how busy people are, and, finally, perhaps most importantly, oh god, please don’t make me do this. Look at all those commas. That’s what January did. Not even Juan Mata could save it. Then February came along.

February wasn’t exactly worse results-wise. The first month of the year did see United lose five out of seven, after all, if you were to include a penalty shooutout defeat (as we emphatically do), the remaining two acceptable victories at home to relegation-threatened teams. It didn’t help that United were knocked out of both domestic tournaments, as well as being pushed into irrelevancy in the league. So that was bad. It could only get better, right?

Well. How much ‘better’ is one win in five? (Keep going.) The relentless sameness, the frustration at the apparent lack of lessons learned, is difficult to write off as simply a product of a season of transition. “Stand by your new manager,” months on, suddenly sounds sinister. People are constantly looking for reassurance. Look at the attacking players at their disposal! But Stoke win 2-1. A cross every minute, cleared away every minute, and a late goal conceded at Fulham. A draw. Where’s Adnan Januzaj, by the way, almost literally the only good thing of recent things to happen to Manchester United? Arsenal. Another draw. Not a terrible result, but, actually, it kinda is, right? Have you seen the table? Three points against an in-form Palace? Good. We’ll take it. What’s harder to take, though, is the idea that United have actually saved their most appalling performance of this wretched season for Olympiacos, in the Champions League. The one thing that still mattered. Wasn’t that an easy draw? When is it supposed to get good, then? Wayne Rooney’s signed a new contract! But Wayne Rooney isn’t playing well. He’s playing just as badly as the rest. (Woah.)

Olympiacos was, in technical terms, a killer. There is a second leg, and there remains the potential of one of those great European nights at Old Trafford: for Olympiacos. It’s unclear just how good they are, dismissed by one newspaper(‘s podcast) as being equal to a Premier League “mid-table” side before kick-off. That might have been why things worked out the way it did, thinking about it. United were deceived: the numerous scout reports established that their opponents were without their two best players, or perhaps the question of whether it was better spelled with a ‘c’ rather than a ‘k’ led to their unravelling. David Moyes spoke of the “good form” (keep going, oh god, just keep going) coming into this one, hoping to retroactively change results if he says enough positive things. We’ve been great recently! Nope, it still says on here that we lost to Stoke City.

Everyone’s a little confused. Johnny Giles branded Robin van Persie a “prat” for complaining about players being in his “zone”. He might have had a point, given that Van Persie’s comment didn’t make much sense. His zone? Surely that could have only been Wayne Rooney? They both were pretty bad, so in the same zone they were. Van Persie, however, can feel a little hard done by. He didn’t get off lightly, and people are questioning his form. He has managed four goals in the six games he’s been fit, three more than Wayne Rooney. The Englishman typically delivers, but he hasn’t recently. He can get by on his goals and assists, but, well. Van Persie at least has. Rooney also has a new contract, and while his talents can’t be ignored, it’s also bewildering just how easily some of his bad performances are ignored themselves. Van Persie, it must be remembered, has maintained a strike rate similar to last season’s. His spurned chance late on in Greece still hurts, but what was worse is that he only got one. He’s always been allowed to miss an easy one because he puts the others away.

Nobody is having a good time in this post-Fergie world. Moyes should take most responsibility for failing, repeatedly, to get the most out of his men. But it also goes beyond him. Carrick no longer looks like the same player his team-mates voted their best in 2012/13. The defence outdoes itself every week, Chris Smalling quite clearly a centre-back and Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra members of another team a few months too soon. The non Adnan Januzajs out wide, meanwhile, can’t hit the door they’ll hopefully exit from in the summer. 2014’s February was horrible, alright, and we’re glad it’s over.

It could only get better, right.


 

16 Comments

  1. sir liam matt says:

    Stupid moyes is the reason Unitrd are in this mess. The players dont do anytin in training, apart from just Runing from one half to another.

  2. tallestreD says:

    Good post Zac!

  3. The_red_devils says:

    It can’t get any worse. It could only get better, right.
    ==>we are saying that since november. Yet its getting worse with each passing day and hasn’t got better.

  4. Zana says:

    Its true, Carrick’s level has been below par this season.but I believe players after entering their 30s they usually need careful nurturing and that I believe didn’t happen under a ruthless training method or an inexperienced coaching staff.the same story can be applied to what is happening to a declining Robin Van Persie.I am not here to put all the blame on the manager but obviously Fergie knew every minute details about every players and hence he did what is right for some of them and did things differently with the rest.may be a more conservative method of training for players like Rio, or Carrick and Robin that suit their age and position.imagine Ryan Giggs playing under another Coach, he couldn’t make it that far.for Moyes to be successful he should have not followed the same general rules of training.sometimes you have to do things not your own.just saying.there is not just one formula for success.David Moyes is a working class manager that needs hard working, his reputation for the fine work ethics is obvious but his tactics and mentality is quite old fashioned and classic.despite all of this I still don’t want the man to go he wants to change things and turn it around.

  5. Zana says:

    Furthermore I believe the level of awareness, the positional play on the pitch, ruthlessness in front of goal.the motivation and inspiration at the final 15minutes of every game was absolutely a non united class.these points are crucial and should be rectified in the near future to retain usual know a never dying attitude gene.as I said before changing Fergie is like changing A God”as a metaphor”and am not pointing the finger into Mr.Moyes alone as divinity doesnt came in one season but the aforementioned points shouldn’t take too much time.so hopefully things will go better for the upcoming season.

  6. Zana says:

    By logic I will stand by United more than anything else and I respect those people who write football related comments related to our club but I bodenm any ad hominum speech against the manager or the staff.after all they are holding the badge of our club in their bossom.I am against those who radically ridicule everything.there are many things gone wrong and they need to be fixed.some folks here should stop behaving like a keyboard warrior and write what they fancy.if you cant see the yin and yang together you are not related to this club.if you are forgetting the final speech of Sir Alex then you should not demoralize this place.

  7. trevor knightsmith says:

    Zana;
    ” if you are forgetting the final speech of Sir Alex then you should not demoralize this place.”

    I think you’ll find Moyes has done all the demoralizing around here !

    I haven’t forgotten his speech where he said ” Get behind the manager” , but it works both ways, the manager has to give some inspiration, some hope that the future looks good, but the simple truth is it does not.

    We are playing relegation football, the worst I’ve seen by us in many a year. We have been turned into a laughing stock, home and abroad, there isn’t any heart or spirit in the side, or hope with most of the supporters.

    This is all down to one man, Moyes, who should never have been appointed in the first place, and it shows .

  8. Gary Mitrovic says:

    “It could only get better, right” I wouldn’t hold your breath on that notion. With 3 home games against our 2 most bitter rivals and a second leg which requires desperate measures it has very potential to get worse.

  9. Zana says:

    @Trevor
    if you truly understand what I wrote you shouldn’t have responded like you did unless you are falling in the category of people I mentioned.

  10. TopRed123 says:

    A good post, however, I have to agree with Gary. I think it could actually get worse in March.

  11. trevor knightsmith says:

    Zana:

    I did understand what your post was about, I was just commenting on one particular sentence , and I certainly do not fall under the category of the people you mentioned .

    I have supported United since 1953, and seldom have I seen the club in such disarray as they are now.

    Even the (non ABU) supporters of other clubs can realise what has gone wrong , and it will get worse if we persist with Moyes.

    Obviously I would liked to be proven wrong , but unfortunately I think the writing is on the wall .

  12. The_red_devils says:

    Zana
    sir alex also said he has left the squad in the best possible way to continue the success. But that hasn’t happened.
    But people talk about lack of quality players as the reason to defend moyes. So is sir alex wrong?? then at the same time they talk about sir alex saying ‘get behind your manager’. Don’t they think sir alex is wrong in that too if sir alex is wrong about players?

  13. manutd24 says:

    The closing: “It could only get better, right”, Gary and TopRed123, is just a repetition of an earlier line. I am very aware it can get much, much worse.

    Read more about March’s defeats in next month’s column.

  14. Tommy says:

    @Gary

    Weve got nothing to lose in these fixtures especially against the scousers, If your a United player and you cant get yourself up forn a game against Liverpool then you have no buisness being at United

  15. Gazzer says:

    You have to blame Moyes. He swept out a coaching staff that was proven to work, and he decided that his way was better. As a result, we didn’t just get a new manager that we could all get behind, we got a new system that we didn’t ask for.

    I never asked for 80 crosses in a game. If I wanted that I’d watch Stoke City and Peter Crouch.

    The players don’t know whether they are coming or going. Yes, some of them are getting towards the end, but they didn’t get this bad this fast. It speaks volumes that Vidic chose not to beg for a new contract when they let his run down. Now we’ll see what they do about Evra after pretty much broadcasting that they wanted to dump him for Baines.

    What a fiasco. They gave him too long a contract, too much authority and now he has dropped the entire club in the shit. I’d like to see us attract top players this summer……

  16. Gazzer says:

    Tommy,
    I’d normally get up for a match against Liverpool, except that this time I fear we are on to a hiding. I can’t wait for this season to be over. In the meantime, Liverpool are playing exactly the way we should be playing.

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