United’s benchwarmers give Moyes food for thought

Manchester United suffered yet another damaging defeat to their free spending archrivals Manchester City last weekend. Much as it wasn’t a 6-1 thrashing, the 4-1 score line depicted the gulf between the two Manchester sides.
Ivan R. Mugisha
Ivan R. Mugisha

Manchester United suffered yet another damaging defeat to their free spending archrivals Manchester City last weekend. Much as it wasn’t a 6-1 thrashing, the 4-1 score line depicted the gulf between the two Manchester sides.

One thing was certain. City may afford to experiment rotation due to their depth in quality. They may even afford to play without David Silva and still give the Red Devils a beating. However, much as the score line is flattering to the ‘Noisy Neighbours’, it doesn’t necessarily prove United’s weakness.

David Moyes has consistently stuck with experienced players. Game in game out he has turned to them, but they have instead frustrated the team. The defense pairing between Ferdinand and Vidic has proved a tad slow when playing against fast paced attackers.

In the midfield, the partnership between Carrick and Fellaini is just too uncreative to provide assists for Rooney and Robin Van Persie, or to boss the game like Yaya Toure and Fernandinho do.

And, Moyes’s trust in Ashley Young is somewhat troubling considering his lackluster performances so far.

Against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, Moyes fielded a group of players who were hungry to prove their worth – and they did so impressively.

Coming off the wing and dropping into the middle, Kagawa tormented the Liverpool defence more than Carrick can dream of doing.

Nani’s confidence with the ball, albeit his few awkward shots in the pavilion, proved he is miles ahead of Ashley Young. Smalling, who was my man of the match against Liverpool, proved that he should be partnering Vidic in the heart of defence ahead of Ferdinand.

The beautifully tattooed Alexander Buttner proved that Moyes was simply wasting valuable time in the transfer market trying to look for Patrice Evra’s replacement.

Finally, Javier Hernandez yet again proved how hard it is for him to play 90 minutes without scoring a goal. You wonder why and how Danny Welbeck starts ahead of him.

This leads me to a certain controversial conclusion; most of the time, Manchester United have played games with their best players warming the bench.

It is still early in the season and probably not many conclusions can be made now, but United’s performance so far is troubling. They have faced three of their biggest rivals already and haven’t been successful to penetrate their defences.

This was unheard of in the past. Sir Alex Fergusson couldn’t simply swallow this. Losing to both Manchester City and Liverpool in successive games isn’t short of a crisis.

Yet, the manner in which United lost is what baffles. Against City, United had possible game changers – Nani, Kagawa, and Chicharito – all seated comfortably on the bench.

When substitution time finally arrived, United was already trailing by four goals and, weird enough, it wasn’t even the above mentioned players that Moyes saw fit to play. Instead he deployed Tom Cleverly who somewhat impressed better than Carrick.

The agonising display that day, with the sad faces on the bench, made me wonder what Moyes is up.

Carrick doesn’t even start for England. His style of play doesn’t threaten opponents at all and when it comes to controlling the tempo, he isn’t the best – he should be dropped to the bench.

Rooney and Van Persie are good on their own upfront, but why not use Fellaini as the holder, Kagawa as the attacking midfielder, Nani and Valencia in the wings?

Kagawa was a regular at Dortmund, he was scoring and creating goals – he certainly needs a couple of more games to get his form back, and he can’t do that by constantly sitting on the bench.

The earlier Moyes realises this, the better for the Red Devils. Otherwise, their Noisy Neighbors are set to torment them more.

@RushAfrican on Twitter

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