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Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 7:13:02 AM
by brian martin
Belgium's Marouane Fellaini (left) and Romelu Lukaku training with the Belgian national football team. Fellaini is expected to start in the match against Crystal Palace. – AFP Photo
MANY United fans I have spoken to are concerned that under David Moyes the Red Devils are slowly morphing into the Toffees – a team playing very much in the style of the Scot over the last 10 years.
A meagre haul of four points over the last three matches hasn’t endeared Moyes to the Red Army. What’s worse, their bitter rivals Liverpool are at the summit of the EPL with a perfect record of three wins from three matches.
Time to press the panic button? Certainly not. Lest we forget, United got off to a bad start last season, losing two of their first six matches, but ended up winning the EPL at a canter.
Let’s just look at United under Moyes. They had an excellent win at Swansea, but then the goals dried up in the next two matches. A 0-0 draw at home against Chelsea wasn’t the result they were looking for, but a draw against a team who are sure to be title contenders is still a credible result.
Whichever way you look at it, the 1-0 defeat at Anfield was hard to swallow. It wasn’t as if Liverpool played out of their skins – in fact they were average – it’s just that United were abysmal.
Robin van Persie was starved of service and hardly had a shot on goal. To compound matters, Wayne Rooney’s injury meant that Moyes had fewer options up front.
There is good news for United fans though. The long international break has worked in their favour. Rooney’s nasty cut should have healed and the striker should be on the bench this weekend at the very least.
Expect the club’s new signing Marouane Fellaini to start. The Belgian has had more than a week to acclimatise himself and get accustomed to his new team-mates. His muscular presence in the heart of midfield should be just the boost the side needs.
The final positive for United is that they are taking on Crystal Palace at home. With due respect to the London side, United’s strikers should have a field day against the Palace defence.
Moyes will be hoping for a big win against Palace as a morale booster before tough matches against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League midweek and against neighbours Manchester City next weekend. With an extremely limited CV when it comes to European competition, the Scot will have to rely on his lieutenants Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville to navigate a tricky Group A which includes Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad.
His predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson perfected the art of squad rotation, and with two big matches coming up, Moyes may be tempted once again to rest Shinji Kagawa this weekend, much to the displeasure of United fans who have been clamouring for the midfielder to start.
Moyes’ reluctance to use Kagawa is puzzling as United have lacked a creative edge in the attacking half, the reason why Sir Alex bought the Japanese from Dortmund in the first place.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Manchester United, EPL, English Premier League, David Moyes, Everton, Crystal Palace, Marouane Fellaini
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