David Moyes’ time at Manchester United was an unmitigated disaster. While there aren’t many, or any, managers who could have won the Premier League so convincingly with the squad that Sir Alex Ferguson did in his final year in charge, that doesn’t change the fact that Moyes inherited a pretty decent side. For several players, their best years were behind them, but they had the experience, quality and confidence in their ability to at least earn Champions League football for United.
Moyes wasn’t helped by Ed Woodward’s inability to do his job, with the only summer signing coming right at the end of the window when Marouane Fellaini followed the manager from Merseyside. Juan Mata joined midway through the season but it was too little too late to save United from a disastrous campaign under Moyes’ leadership.
When he was sacked, United were 13 points away from the top four. While we didn’t have the best squad in the league, there certainly weren’t six teams better than us, in terms of the players they had available. What was most damning for Moyes is that Fellaini had been Everton’s top scorer the season before and he left for Old Trafford, yet they were 12 points ahead of us following their 2-0 win over us at Goodison Park. That was the game that ensured it was mathematically impossible for United to finish in the top four and Moyes was sacked as a result.
In every interview Moyes as has given about being the United manager, he argues that he deserved more time. Ahead of the meeting between the two clubs on Wednesday evening, Moyes has made the same point yet again.
Ole had a difficult start. I think the difference between Ole and me is Ole has been given time. But I have to say he’s doing a really good job. Going to Old Trafford is always a great experience for anybody, and we want the players to go there and play well and show what we can do.
First and foremost, it’s a wonderful club, it’s a brilliant place to be. The biggest club in the world for me because of what it stands for, and I’m looking forward to going back. They’re bringing in a lot of players from their academy which Manchester United have always stood for. They’ve always had great values over the years have Manchester United, and one of the biggest ones was always trying to promote their own young players and they’ve got some really exciting young players of their own now.
It’s never an easy place to go, I don’t think anybody expects it to be an easy place to go and play, but we’ll go out there and hopefully give it a right good go.
While it hasn’t been plain sailing for Solskjaer, there’s very little that makes their two stints comparable. Moyes oversaw awful results against the teams at the top. United lost both games against City, lost to Liverpool twice in league (although did knock them out of the League Cup), lost and drew against Chelsea and won and drew with Arsenal.
Solskjaer’s record in the big games is much more impressive, with three victories each over both City and Chelsea this season alone. However, against some of the lower ranking teams, Solskjaer has struggled, as Moyes did, but tonight is a must win.
Unless there are ridiculous score lines in the remaining games at the bottom, West Ham are safe this season and will remain in the Premier League. That’s not to say Moyes and his players won’t still be keen to get one over on United but there isn’t the same desperation there would be if they were seriously fighting relegation still.
United may well revert to the starting line-up that had so much success over recent weeks, with Anthony Martial leading the line and Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood either side. The front three have a combined 60 goals for the season and will be looking to add to their tally tonight.
If United beat West Ham, a draw against Leicester in the final game would be enough to see us qualify for the Champions League next season. Get the job done lads and shut Moyes up.