1. With ten minutes left to play yesterday, fans were streaming out of the exits at Old Trafford, not prepared to stay until the final whistle confirmed our second home defeat in a matter of days. People have trotted out the stat pointing to the end of the 2001-2002 season, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s United lost two games in a row at home. The first of those defeats actually came in March though, with United spending the following seven weeks playing away from home (winning six and drawing two of the eight games) before losing to Arsenal at Old Trafford in May to give them the title. It’s hardly comparable with the situation we currently find ourselves in. If you weren’t panicking before, you probably should be now. We’re 9th and 7 points away from even breaking in to the top four.
2. What is even more worrying than us losing all these games to teams we should be beating, but that these teams aren’t even playing well. Everton put in nothing like their best performance of the season but nobody could really argue with the result, even if you do ignore the penalties we could/should have had. Newcastle yesterday were distinctly average and offered very little. Defensively they were decent enough, but they were hardly busting a gut, and on the attack it took the whole of the first half before David de Gea had anything to do. Their goal came when Evra was well beaten by Sissoko on the wing. He put the ball across the goal, entirely unchallenged, to Cabaye just inside the box. Vidic and Evans were there, but were nowhere near Cabaye, who took full advantage of the easy opportunity to score. And that was that.
3. Robin van Persie did score a goal for us, albeit from an offside position, after a lovely ball from Januzaj was whipped in. The Dutchman wasn’t at the races though. Whilst reports of a transfer request appear to be totally unfounded, the whispers from Carrington that Van Persie is not happy with Moyes’ training are getting louder and louder. Still, this was his first game in a month, since scoring the winner over Arsenal, so maybe he’s entitled to be a little rusty.
4. Absolutely nothing came from the middle of the park, with Cleverley and Jones running around a lot but not actually doing anything. The amount of times, even in the first half, that Vidic resorted to booting the ball up the pitch because there was nothing on in the centre of the pitch. Anderson was a slight improvement on Cleverley, given that he brought the ball forward a few times, but we just don’t have enough to compensate for such a poor central midfield at the moment.
5. Jonny Evans has admitted that the players are low on confidence and it’s hard to see how that can change without a few wins. But the way we’re playing, it’s hard to see how we’re going to win a few games. On paper, all the matches between now and Christmas should be ones we get three points from, but for the first time in a couple of decades or more, we genuinely cannot guarantee wins in any particular one of those matches. Things can only get better? Let’s bloody well hope so.
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