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From My Seat: Man Utd (A)

By Ken Buckley   ::  10/02/2013 A quick trip down the East Lancs and a goodly number of the faithful gathered to see how we would fare against the favourites for the title in their own backyard. They were in good voice as they welcomed the players in the warm-up. It's always good to get in handy at this place as its not that accommodating of a venue.

The teams were received on phones at three but by kick-off, Heitinga had replaced Distin – strange, I thought... but later I learned he was taken poorly – as it appeared so was his deputy, certainly in a football sense anyway.

From the off we just didn't look at it and the feeling that this game was just not going to go our way crept in. Fergie had picked a full-strength team and meant business on the back of Man City's result and the combination of both soon began to tell.

Within minutes we were getting pegged back and unfortunately Heitinga was looking in the same form as the Villa game. Rooney shot over and, after we forced a corner which the massed bodies of the Man Utd rear-guard blocked away, a poor first touch from Vic and a weak attempt at a tackle by Pienaar, a swift break took place and Rooney found Van Persie who waltzed past Howard with ease but his right-footed shot toward an empty net hit a post and went out. It was a warning and a wake-up call that would not be heeded.

Before the 15-minute mark was reached, we were breached. Man Utd had a free kick sort of half-cleared and they were on to the second ball before we even thought about it and some interplay involving Valencia saw him play Van Persie into the box where he just seem to out muscle Heitinga and eased past him to roll the ball along the six-yard box to Giggs in space who rolled into the net via a post and a comical attempt by Howard who never had a chance of stopping it.

The half wore on with Mirallas looking the liveliest but even he wasn't his usual driving self. We were playing some decent stuff but once again that final third found us diffident rather than dynamic. Osman did have a good shot well saved for a corner which was cleared with difficulty.

From about the 30min mark until a minute before the break, we had our best spell of the match as we had Utd on the back foot. "We need to score in these spells," I thought... but all we had was good pressure without the end product. Utd were limited to quick counters and a couple of times Van Persie was pulled back from good scoring runs by the offside flag. "If he gets one of them right," I thought...

In that minute before half-time, with us looking like we just might get a good half-time equaliser. Utd countered again once more due to sloppy first touches but this time no offside flag, this time no post to save us as van Persie rounded Howard and despite a desperate swipe at the ball by Heitinga who had been left stranded, the ball hit the net and even the most optimistic Blue could have been forgiven for shrugging and thinking 'game over'.

Half-time and most were bemoaning our performance with Vic, Heitinga, Osman and Pienaar taking the brunt of blame. Many suggested giving our new signing from Barnsley a run but really we know nothing about him and to my mind a debut for an inexperienced player at Old Trafford may not be in his best interest. He must be good though – they named a paint trophy after him.

Second half and no changes surprised me as we just did not seem right first half; the tactic of the ball up to Vic for him to lay off to any support couldn't work because today his first touch was shocking and, for such a big strong-looking lad he was easily bullied off the ball by Vidic and Evans, with Vic's build it should have been the other way around.

Gibson was being no more than neat and tidy and hardly giving the ball away which sounds good but the reality was his passes were never rapier like to a team-mate in the box. Jags was doing the work of two men in the box and Fellaini was double-marked almost all the time and we kept aiming the ball at him – all of which suited Utd and they were in control and knew it.

On the hour mark, Moyes moved and replaced Vic with Jelavic which brought a smile to my face – as soon as Jelavic was seen ready to come on, Vic hit the deck, apparently injured... did he know it was him to be hooked or do I do him a dis-service? He didn't seem injured till Jelavic appeared.

As soon as he was on, he looked lively and was running and showing for the ball but, as much as we strived for cohesion, everything was breaking down in that final third due to some good defending but mostly our own doing as passes were delivered behind attackers, first touches were poor, and all-in-all, no clear-cut chances created.

On about 65 mins, we had some right action in our box when from a corner the mother of all goalmouth melees took place. From my seat, it was hard to tell what happened but Howard seemed to stop one on the line then slide out a leg to divert the ball again it was mayhem until I think it was Jelavic – I could be wrong – who booted it and hit another Everton player and went for another corner, again taken by Van Persie, which was only partly cleared and fell to Cleverly in what is known as the Scholes position but he fired in well for Howard to do well and tip over for another corner taken by Van Persie which was at last cleared after another heart-in-mouth scramble.

Really that was the last of the real action as it seemed both teams were resigned to the score remaining the same. On 70 mins, Mirallas was visibly tiring, even with a cock's crest injected into him, and was replaced by Naismith who went up with Jelavic and Fellaini dropping into centre mid. The Belgian looked a tad fed up by now and frustration got him needlessly booked.

We were now looking a beaten side but we did keep trying but you just knew a two-goal deficit would not be wiped out this visit. Last season they said that this fixture cost Man Utd the title... well, this season it could just be the fixture that won it for them.

Final whistle and the best thing to do is lick our wounds, get home and be ready for the cup.

MotM – Hard to find one but I nominate Jags.

Overall I think you can say that the best team won but yet it is only our 4th defeat of the season so far. 12 games to go and who knows how we might do but I have to say that players are looking a touch jaded and with no real replacements to give them a breather then the inability to do business in the window may well have put paid to our Euro ambitions via the league; I hope not and pray for a second wind from somewhere. [I think there maybe a conflict between heart and head there sadly.]

A telltale sign of this is seen in both Osman and Pienaar reverting to 'weak as wet lettuce' mode and others sadly following suite. Still hope springs eternal etc etc.

Oldham next in the Cup and not the best time of year to visit the second highest ground in England, wrap up well. Could this be our route into Europe?

UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Danny Broderick
187 Posted 10/02/2013 at 22:55:01
A good sensible review, in contrast with some of the knee jerk stuff elsewhere...
Sam Hoare
188 Posted 10/02/2013 at 22:57:01
A balanced report as ever Ken. In retrospect it will be the draws and missed opportunities against the likes of Newcastle, Norwich and reading that really cost us rather than defeat at Old Trafford but I suspect the CL chase is over after the worst possible weekend results wise.
Andy Crooks
189 Posted 10/02/2013 at 22:56:44
Ken, I was actually thinking if Ken can get anything positive from this shite today then my respect for him will have gone. But... as usual you write a great report that makes one look at the game again. Good stuff.
Andy Crooks
190 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:06:12
Danny, how bad must Everton be before you deem any criticism not to be knee jerk?
Steve Carse
191 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:04:30
Strange how we were that jaded that Moyes didn't play all his subs. How come we weren't jaded last April at OT? Why should we jaded now? We've only played 28 games in 25 weeks. And if we are then the remaining 3 months of the season should be a breeze compared to what our rival contenders for Europe will be having to put up with.........on the logic of tiredness being a factor then we should be odds on for that 4th place!
Spencer Ramsay
192 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:06:54
Thanks for the report Ken. Great work as always. There just seemed to be an air of inevitability today which began the moment they announced Distin was out. I'd agree MOTM was Jags. Jonny can do one. Hope we can offload him in the summer now. One good season is just not good enough.

How we could do with a Van Persie or dare I say a Rooney right now. Can't understand why we didnt streghthen in the transfer window? Yet another piece of piss poor management. Lets just hope we can turn it on in the Cup next weekend.....

COYB!

Andy Crooks
193 Posted 10/02/2013 at 23:21:29
Ken, you see a lot of games and know your stuff; how about a chance for Duffy? What do you think?
Martin Mason
206 Posted 11/02/2013 at 01:58:17
The most depressing thing was that we had our best team out today and it's no better than their second team. United are a league above us even with a weakened team playing at half pace.

We did play some fairly good stuff at times but I think it was only because United let us. Jags was magnificent today doing the work of two CB's, Heitinga shouldn't get a game in a Sunday morning pub side, he is an embarrassment.

The Emperor hath no clothes I'm afraid.

Dick Fearon
208 Posted 11/02/2013 at 02:06:02
Ken I admire your optimistic outlook, the kind I held at least up to the past few years.

Recently I have struggled to maintain enthusiasm because far too often my hopes have crashed. I could deal with those slings and arrows but too often they have resulted from Moyes tactical naiveté and not the players ability.

Saturday's game left me with a sinking feeling that for as long as he stays things will not change. Everton has made him a millionaire several times over yet he cannot boast a single trophy to show for it. Too often when we were in with a chance of winning something it was his negativity, poor use of subs or tactical naiveté that threw it away.

When he came from Preston we accepted that he was on a learning curve. From a total of approx 40 games at OT, Anfield, Emirates and the Bridge he cannot boast one lousy victory. That is quite some learning curve, eh.

Recipient of multiple manager of the month awards yet he is regularly outmaneuvered by managers with less resources at their disposal. If he had a shred of dignity he would demand a decent transfer budget or shoot through. From being one of his strongest supporters, my views have turned full circle.

John Boon
213 Posted 11/02/2013 at 04:00:37
Having supported the Blues since 1945 I am used to many ups and downs. When we were the "Wealthiest " team in Britain I had great expectations. Reality on an uneven financial field means we have to expect results like today. Based on everything we cannot expect too much. We can be great on certain days but to lose to the "Multi Multi Millionaires" in Manchester is what almost every team has done, except Spurs, who were dead lucky. Stop analysing....WE LOST....and sometime we will lose again...and then we will win again. It is being a present day Evertonian.


Bob Parrington
214 Posted 11/02/2013 at 03:29:24
Good balanced report as usual, Ken. Jags was clearly our MotM, as you say.

Watching the game on Foxtel, it looked like we had mostly given up from the start but we got it back together for a while without ever looking in danger of scoring. MU were clearly the better side on the day (no real surprise there!).

Personally, I would have liked to see Davey try something different, at least in the 2nd half. Same old, same old was never going to put us in sight of a repeat of last year. There is a time to try................

Strangely, after all the posts last week........... Jonny was at fault for the tirst and Pip for the second.

Christopher Timmins
226 Posted 11/02/2013 at 06:42:28
Ken, thanks for the report. Watching the game it was disturbing how little United had to do to claim all 3 points. Duffy should have started, after last week it was a joke that Jonny started, just a joke. Our right back finds it difficult that find a player in blue and after years of workmanlike service it's time for him to move aside. Coleman, you only miss them when they are not there, is a loss. I could name others, Vic was bullied from first kick but in fairness he would surely have scored before the break if the cross from 10 yards was slightly in front of him rather than slightly behind.

Goind forward it looks as if we will be fighting with the team across the park for sixth spot. Arsenal and Spurs are on good runs and with Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea all away we are unlikely to collect the fourth of fifth spots.

We will rue or lack of activity in the transfer market in January 2013.

Oldham next Saturday, 2 stops from Wembley and 3 from the final.

Derek Thomas
231 Posted 11/02/2013 at 07:54:13
For various reasons I have recorded the game, Everybody, hand on heart. should I, knowing the result, having read Ken's and others reports waste 90mins of my evening, bearing in mind that I have to go to bed early as I get up early AND the wife wants to watch My Kitchen Rules first.
Russ Quinlan
233 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:00:22
As soon as Distin pulled out I knew we were screwed.
As others have said before, if Moyes doesn't rate Duffy (who plays and scores for his country!) why keep him ?
Same with Vellios, Oviedo, etc.
Having said that Moyes also changes his tune, in December he said he would wait and see how the Board support him in the transfer window, obviously they didn't so is that just an excuse to sod off at the end of the season ?
Who's fault is it that no players were brought in at the beginning of the transfer window, was it Moyes not looking for players or was it the Board simply not giving him any money ?
No doubt we will never know the truth but one thing I do know is they are totally screwing up this Club and its us lifelong sufferers who will be here picking up the pieces of mid table mediocrity due to them.
Phil Walling
244 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:35:32
Great report,Ken,and maintain the positivity-someone has to! As Chris says above,the only battle now is with `them`for sixth spot but maybe Moyes is saving a trophy triumph (the FA Cup)until his final season.
We can only hope-on both counts!
Dick Fearon
248 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:33:14
Russ @ 233, You echo my thoughts on the transfer debacle.
Should you believe the club's spin and not for one moment do believe it, Moyes had at least 8 mil to spend. With only a few hours of the window remaining the move failed. The reason given was a failed medical. That begs the question why was it left so late to make that finding. Why did Moyes not have others lined up in case the Fer move fell through?
Blue Kipper has a 'Fishy' section devoted to potential transfers. The Leroy Fer case stinks to high heaven and was very 'fishy'.
I have stooped to this conspiracy theory because far too much has gone and continues to go under the bridge without any proof.

Whatever way you look at it, the whole debacle from start to finish was either a con job or Moyes eff'ed up yet again.


Phil Walling
251 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:25:40
Yet another pointer that `they are in it together`,Dick!
Mike Iddon
258 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:38:51
As mentioned on the other hysteria-fuelled thread, everyone should read Ken's report and take a deep breath. Unlike everywhere else in today's knee-jerk football chat, Ken tells it like it is and not the way some people want to see it.
James Marshall
260 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:45:24
We all know that this result has barely any real significance - as someone said before me, it's the draws against teams like Norwich that have hurt us, not losing at Old Trafford. Most teams lose at Old Trafford.

Another thing that's been mentioned often of late, is Duffy and giving him a game, especially in light of Heitinga being in terrible form for some reason (lets not bother to debate that, it's plain to see he's struggling, and thats enough said). My opinion is this; David Moyes should be taking a leaf out of Alex Ferguson's book with young players. When he has defenders like Rio Ferdinand getting towards the end of their careers, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs close to the end, what he does is buys a young replacement a few years before and gently bloods them by using them in games against the 'lesser' teams. Then he uses them more & more and very gradually phases them in, and the older players out. It's not rocket science but most managers do not do this. SAF has been doing it for years in all positions, and it's the basic reason why Utd have had such prolonged success.

You can't just 'give Duffy a go' against Utd at OT and expect the guy to succeed - he has to be gently introduced, and Moyes fails to do this with ALL our young players, so when they do get a game (generally because his hand is forced), they so often fail to do well and then he discards them.

It's this bloody mindedness that is Moyes achilles heel, and shows a lack of flexibility and fore-thought.

Look at players like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at Utd - both young Internationals who have been gently bedded into the team, while Ferdinand has been slowly eased out. It also keeps players as happy as they can be kept and doesn't rock the boat or cause a huge amount of instability. Moyes needs to be more flexible and have more faith in his younger players, especially on a tight budget.

If he drops Duffy in at OT, he'd probably get crucified by Rooney & Van Persie, but ease him in and he'll succeed - the kid has talent, it just has to be nurtured in the right way before it's too late and he slopes off to the lower leagues or becomes error-prone due to inactivity and not having his skills polished in the first team.

Mike Oates
261 Posted 11/02/2013 at 09:48:27
Good report Ken, I agree Jags MOM . Thought that Piennar and Ossie looked jaded, and Gibson and Mirallas completely off the pace. I would go as far as saying Mirallas ddin't have the heart for this game, he shirked a number of tackles and very rarely showed for the ball.

If you've ever watched any of the reserve games on Everton TV you'll see that none of the Duffy's, Barkley's, are anywhere ready (and maybe never) for the PL. If you think Heitinga positional play and speed is poor, Duffy's exactly the same and his distribution is woeful. This is Moyes dilemma, we are still in shout for some sort of European place (probably Europa Cup) and whilst we are Moyes wont give any young lads a chance. If we drop out of both - he'll have to as the likes of Fellaini, Baines and Heitinga will be gone next year.

Ken Buckley
264 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:04:14
Andy @193 Not sure about Duffy we have not seen enough of him. Getting a first berth is usually after the coaches tell the manager they belive they have someone ready. I can only guess they don't thing he is up to at this time as with Jonny right off form and Distin sick the option was there.
Paul David
265 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:08:11
Mike

You could well be right about Duffy but out of him and Heitinga only one could improve with games.

Ian McPherson
273 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:23:59
Heitinga was due to start on the bench and mentally he was there for the 90 minutes. Spun for the the first goal watching the man and even the second I believe could have made a better effort on the line. Running back for the sake of it. Duffy could have been blooded in so many games over the last few seasons, but never given a sniff. Why bother naming him at all in the squad? We won't make fouth so that means Fellaini will leave and so will Heitinga (hopefully). Moyes is stalling on his contract again because I think this is his last season with us too, which will really put the pressure on the board. Pelligrini or Bilic would welcome the challenge but not without funds from our skint/tight/mean board.
Phil Walling
274 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:39:05
According to these posts,Duffy must be shit.But this is not the impression any of us got from the brief chances he was given last season.It begs the question how ANYBODY could be worse than JH in his present vein of form!
Jamie Barlow
276 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:32:32
James Marshall, I agree that we need to blood our youngsters in gradually and not throw them in at the deep end.

The problem I have with your comparison to Fergie is its far easier to blood youngsters when you're playing with the players Utd have and are 2 or 3 up at half time.

Plus the fact that Smalling and Jones cost over £ 24 million to buy and had played over 40 games between them for their previous clubs.

As I said though, there has been games where we could have brought youngsters on (Cheltenham) but Moyes chose to bring on the usual suspects.

Sam Hoare
279 Posted 11/02/2013 at 10:31:53
Have to agree with mike Oates about Duffy. Doesn't look ready to me and there's a reason he isn't being played. No point playing youngsters for the sake of it though its clear moyes needs to find some alternatives from somewhere in the squad.
James Marshall
282 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:06:58
Fair point Jamie - the thing is (IMO), we're working on a different level to Man Utd and while we continue to play people like Heitinga, we leave ourselves open to not building a squad with any depth (on no money). Moyes has simply failed to build a squad of any depth, and not JUST because we don't have the cash to buy a squad of players with ability to compete.

Promoting from within should be the name of the game for a club like ours, but all we ever seem to do is bring in young players to warm the bench. It all seems a bit pointless to me. Baxter/Oviedo/Guaye/Duffy/Barkley/Vellios etc etc have simply not been played enough in games where we should use them. Players need experience, otherwise they stagnate, don't develop and simply leave or get sold for next to nothing, leaving us further exposed.

In his 11 years at the club, who apart from Osman has come through, made an impact and stayed in the first team? Rodwell hasn't exactly set the World alight, and was sold at the right time so that one went pretty well!

Trevor Lynes
283 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:05:10
My only gripe is with Heitinga continually being given chances over Duffy.
Perhaps now the Man Utd fixture is over Duffy will perhaps start whenever Jags or Distin are unfit.
If he fails it will show up the reasons why he has not been selected before and show the fans the 'real' sparcity of our squad.
It would not be fair to shove Stones in against Man Utd but perhaps he should be given a subs few minutes in a game against a lesser side to see how he shapes.
Oviedo should be tried in front of Baines and give one of the midfield players a break.
Either Osman or Pienaar should be rested.
The team is looking Jaded and its no wonder !!

This transfer window was a missed opportunity, but we could still loan IN the likes of OFOE if we were seriously trying for a euro spot.
FFS we have loaned OUT two of our regular subs so now our bench is a shambles.

Kevin Gillen
284 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:17:33
Second best yesterday but there wasn't a lot in the game. I don't think playing at Old Trafford should be the place to blood youngsters. Getting knocked out by Leeds in the League Cup is a pain because that's where they should be given a chance. I cannot believe Swansea and Bradford are contesting that final. We need to regroup, our attacking is the problem at the moment, that's another game we didn't score in. A good season will be to finish above the RS and win the FA Cup. I have very little time for Heitinga at the moment mind. He has been poor all season.
Jamie Barlow
286 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:31:58
Like I said James, I agree with you.

I just didn't think the comparison with Utd was right.

James Martin
289 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:47:47
The ocnundrum surrounding Heitinga is this though. We saw how well he played last season so is this just bad form or is he just terrible? Undeniably if he gets back to the form of last season he's a better bet than Duffy right now. To get back to that form he has to have games but in these games he's making mistakes. If we want to sell him we have to put him in the shop window by playing him, hoping he improves, and getting close to our outlay for him. If we don't play him again and sell him at the end of the season then no one is going to pay big money for Duffy's understudy. We are between a rock and a hard place with this one.
Kieran Fitzgerald
294 Posted 11/02/2013 at 11:53:42
Paul Merson made a point recently on Gillette Soccer Saturday that we never get to rest any of our best eleven as we are never winning games by enough goals to allow to sub our best players. Our best eleven is played to the full of every single game. It means that they get more game time than other clubs' best elevens. It also means that we never get the chance to blood younger players like Duffy without throwing them in at the deep end.

It means that we don't get the proper chance to rotate the squad like we could.

Paul David
300 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:05:03
James

Or Duffy gets fed up of never getting a chance even though he deserves it and asks to leave and would go for next to nothing. That could cost the club even more in the long run than letting Heitinga's value drop.

Kieran

If Merson is right then it still makes sense to give younger players a go in the games we're narrowly winning because its inevitable that the first 11 will burn out and badly under perform later in the season. What Merson says could be part of the reason but it could also be that the first 11 know their place in the team is secure regardless of how they play.

James Marshall
302 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:25:35
All good points, well made.

The lack of depth is killing us in so many ways. We don't progress as a squad and it's as we all know, a squad game more than ever before, plus our first team are all pretty much assured of their places so they don't compete as they should do.

All the top teams have players with cover in every position so their players put it all on the line in every game, otherwise they know they'll be in the stiffs before they know it - we simply don't have that competition and our first 11 must be knackered by now as Paul says.

We have a burnt out team, with nobody to replace them and it's starting to show.

Sam Jennings
306 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:38:26
James 289
Heitinga is (somehow) a Dutch international so hopefully no one has noticed how bad he has been recently and we will be able to flog him to some european team for a reasonable amount
James Marshall
307 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:51:45
He's a Dutch sub most of the time at the moment, I think!

I still have very little idea how he managed to play the entire World Cup for them. The man is a charlatan who thinks he's something he's not.

Sam Hoare
309 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:00:44
I have a feeling that if anyone had come in with a decent offer for him in the window just gone then it would have been accepted. As it is we will be very lucky to get £3m for him this summer.

To be honest I have never rated Heitinga and don't think he deserved player of the season last year. He simply lacks too many attributes for a CB in the Premier league.

Brian Harrison
311 Posted 11/02/2013 at 12:43:33
I think a number of factors come into play at this time of the season, in the early part of the season when our players were fresh we played some great football but on a lot of occasions failed to win games that we dominated from start to finish. We also have a very small squad and our better players have to play to many games on the bounce. The game has changed since teams could win the league only using 14/15 players it like most sports is a squad game now, also the game is much faster than it was 10 years ago.

So I think the lack of funds to build a decent squad is now beginning to cost us dearly, I see players who were playing great up to Christmas now looking like they badly need a rest. But with our only chance of silverware being the FA Cup I think it would be a very brave manager who decided to rest 3/4 players against Oldham, then the following week we are back trying to get back into the battle for 4th place so again little chance of resting our better players.

Brian Waring
316 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:07:04
How can tiredness be a factor, when normally we have a storming second half to the season, it's the same squad of players, tiredness never seemed to be a problem then?
James Marshall
320 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:15:00
Because normally we're shit for the entire first half of the season, yet this year we've been good for the first half and put in the work. Now they just look jaded, and have done since Christmas.

You can't blame players for being worn out when they've been overplayed, and you can't blame the Manager in some respects either. We simply don't have enough depth. That said, Moyes should have been playing players like Duffy to improve him, or at least try to. Again, that said (!), playing Duffy wouldn't have given the rest of them a rest either.

Pienaar & Osman both looked shagged out at the moment, Baines hasn't been his dynamic self of late either and Jelavic, well....

Martin Mason
321 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:14:19
Brian

The modern game is intense and all top managers rotate their squad to prevent the type of burn out that Everton seem to have suffered from. We don't have good players in our squad to rotate and our first 11 takes a pretty heavy load. Very bad as some are also prone to injury.

Bobby Thomas
322 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:13:22
We didn't have the same squad of players in the second half of last season though did we?

Tiredness is mental and pyhsical. Couple of fresh faces would have lifted the players, provided impetus, new face day to day around the training ground etc.

I also think we don't have the same cutting edge or threat as to a large extent teams have found a way to play against us and we are lacking in other options and ideas.

Groundhog day for the players to a certain extent.

One thing though, we used to be great from corners and dead balls, attacking wise, under Moyes. Whats happened there? The goals used to compensate for our lack of goal threat from open play.

James Marshall
324 Posted 11/02/2013 at 13:22:55
Bobby - I suspect our aerial threat has been somewhat countered by having a certain Mr Heitinga playing instead of Mr Distin. Our threat from corners is way less without the large Frenchman.
Peter Anthony
339 Posted 11/02/2013 at 14:17:13
I think the team is definitely looking jaded through fatigue. I have hopefully justified optimism for the following reasons:

1) We are only now returning to a consistent run of one game a week (assuming no cup replays), which has not been the case really since pre Christmas. That should cure fatigue.

2) Mirallas should come back into form soon.

3) Jelavic should come back into form soon.

4) Moyes may have an epiphany and send Heitinga to the glue factory or Findus / Tesco / Waitrose horse processing depot (unlikely).

5) Gibson should come back into form soon.

6) A confidence building dispatching of Oldham a la Cheltenham (hopefully John Stones will make his debut) can set us back on the right road.

7) Gareth Bale, Santi Cazorla and Rat Face may get crocked rendering our fellow 4th spot chasers impotent (unlikely).

James Marshall
349 Posted 11/02/2013 at 14:59:12
And if my Sister had balls, she'd be my Brother :-)
Michael Winstanley
422 Posted 11/02/2013 at 17:51:24
A nice report, Ken, balanced as people have said above. I couldn't understand how we shaped up at the start, we looked like strangers. Pienaar on the right Mirallas on the left? Baffling to me.

Heitinga is getting dog's abuse and yet Neville to my mind was just as guilty for the first goal and he played RvP on for the second whilst looking along the line. His crossing yesterday was shocking and I fail to see what his inclusion brought to the team yesterday.

After they scored, our play improved as Pienaar and Mirallas swapped wings; we looked up for it and I thought we had a chance. We didn't really see Baines as an attacking threat as often Pienaar ran into the midfield rather than staying wide.

The goal before the break killed us and second half was rubbish at best, from both teams. It is clear to me Rooney and RVP are light years ahead and are the reason why Man Utd will win the league, their movement is immense. Cleverley looks a player but, apart from those three, I wasn't particularly impressed by them.

We don't possess a goal threat at the moment, starting with Big Vic against Man Utd was a joke. Both Pienaar and Osman faded badly as the game wore on and needed replacing. Not sure what has happened to our Kev, he looked a world beater during the derby but since then has gone backwards, possible as a result of working his way into our system of play.

One thing stood out yesterday and in recent weeks: our fluid quick passing has stopped; far too often, when in advanced positions, we stop and pass it back allowing the opposition to reorganise.

I can't see us getting into Europe now and if the players think so too then I can see us dropping like a stone. Sadly all the decent form of our players has gone, only Gibson and Jags played well yesterday and that is not acceptable. Changes in the summer are a must.

Gareth Fieldstead
504 Posted 11/02/2013 at 08:37:36
I think he will sign a new contract. It will be same old same old. No " bigger" club have requested talks with him at anytime, which speaks volumes. No pressure other than keep us in the premier league. No doubt he will be offered even more money to manage us. As for those on here who suggest we should just concentrate on the cup, there is the small matter of Utd, City, Arsenal and Chelsea still in it. We have no chance of winning it, even if we get past Oldham who will definitely fancy there chances.
David Hallwood
509 Posted 11/02/2013 at 21:11:14
Great report Ken as ever-if a tad glass half full for we TWebbers. What no poster has commented on (unless I missed it) that Man U were playing with three CB's with Jones doing the marking job on Fellaini. What disappointed me was Osman or/and Pienaar should have found extra space with Man Utd being one man light but didn't make an impact.

Also the weird formation at the start with Pienaar & Mirallas switching flanks; what was the point of that? All-in-all, a depressing performance from a tired looking side.

Bob Parrington
585 Posted 11/02/2013 at 22:51:28
Yippee! Why was I so delighted to see that the RS lost to WBA last night?

Gareth #504. You really are feeling negative, mate! Hey, the cup has its surprises. Of course, we CAN win it! Let's get past Oldham first.

David #509. Are you saying that our management and coaching team is a tactic free zone???? Certainly, we've been out-guessed a plenty this season.

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