April 22, 2014

Moyes out! Finally.

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Manchester United, one of the most patient clubs in the world, has reached its breaking point.

After weeks, months even, of cries of “Moyes out,” and even a banner flown over the stadium during a game saying as much, well the fans have gotten their wish.

Manchester United sacked David Moyes on Tuesday, less than a year after naming him the “Chosen One” to replace legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Under Moyes, United hit a lot of lows. Despite fielding basically the same roster as last season’s championship-winning side with a few “upgrades,” the Red Devils seemed to have opponents break long losing streaks against. At least one side was able to grab its first win ever at Old Trafford, once a fortress for United.

It was fairly obvious that Moyes wasn’t working from early on. The early results and his business in the transfer market were very underwhelming. But we always figured that since he had supporters in the back room, he would be safe at least for a season. That is apparently no longer the case. With a finish outside of the top six and not even a Europa League berth on the horizon, it became apparent that United will have a rebuild on its hands – something that it didn’t want Moyes at the head of.

The final straw was apparently this weekend’s loss to Moyes’ former club, Everton – a team that looks even better without its former boss.

After the match – in which United had 61% possession but was constantly hit on the break and generally out-attacked by the hosts – Moyes said that United played well. If that was Moyes’ version of playing well, he is clearly delusional and needed to go.

The real questions now are what happens next – to Moyes and United.

United will have veteran Ryan Giggs at the helm in the interim, but he is not a long-term solution, even if fans would love that idea. Giggs is a United legend and would be well-received as a saviour.

The rumours are that United is in for Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal after he’s done with the team at the World Cup. Man U also reportedly has eyes on Borussia Dortmund main man Juergen Klopp, but that’s a longshot.

As for Moyes, he’ll be welcomed with open arms to any of the clubs below the fold on the Premier League table. He’ll undoubtedly land on his feet, guide a frugal team to mid-table stability and let that be that. That’s what he’s cut out for. If I were to put money on it, I’d say that Newcastle sacks Alan Pardew in the summer and goes for Moyes. The two seem meant for each other.


Is there anybody in this race except for Liverpool?

After this week, it sure seems like it. Manchester City is still on the periphery, but needs Liverpool to lose twice to even have a chance – it was able to deal with West Brom quite easily on Monday though.

As for Chelsea, well, the little horse looks like it has bowed out yet again.

Slumping to another loss to a bottom-table team, Chelsea is now a longshot in the race even if it can beat Liverpool next weekend.

It’s fairly obvious that the only race that Jose Mourinho’s team wants to win is the Champion’s League, in which it faces Atletico Madrid in the semifinal on Tuesday. The Premier League is just an afterthought now to the Blues.

But Liverpool may have something else to deal with in these last few games – attrition.

With Jordan Henderson suspended and Daniel Sturridge hurt, the Reds’ depth was tested, especially in midfield.

Raheem Sterling was able to step up this week, but can Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen keep up their end of the bargain for two more games? Taking a look at Liverpool’s bench for the game, there were no midfielders available for substitution. One more knock or an unfortunate red card could put this team into a very awkward situation.

What we do know is that to make this even close to being a race, Chelsea needs to win at Anfield this week and Liverpool will still need to lose another game – which is a very tough ask.


Sunderland beating Chelsea – ending Mourinho’s incredible home undefeated streak in the process – may have taken some drama out of the title race, but it made the relegation battle all the more interesting. The table is even more packed at the bottom and we’re heading for an incredible finish … I’d say that the first “safe” team from the bottom up is West Ham in 12th. Sitting seven points above the relegation zone, that should be enough to survive even three losses to finish … Aston Villa is looking worse by the week without Christian Benteke. This team can’t score and that could get it into some serious trouble … West Brom was crushed by City, but showed some life at least. Graham Dorrans’ goal was the highlight of the game, but the Baggies will need more … Norwich is in trouble. It is in 17th right now, but check out this schedule to finish: Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal. It might not get another point … Hull City is six points up with a game in hand, but has the F.A. Cup to worry about. After getting crushed in a preview of the final against Arsenal this weekend, it’s questionable if that should be the priority … There are two things to consider when looking at the relegation table though: Cardiff and Fulham’s goal differentials. At -34 and -42 respectively, there’s no team in the battle that can’t beat them on that tie-breaker. That means both sides will have to try extra hard to get the points and avoid a tie in the table.


Noticed this disappointing stat from last week: Despite playing 90 minutes each in his two contests in the gameweek, Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta somehow got a total of 0 points. Four points for 180 minutes, but -2 for a yellow card in each game and -2 for two goals allowed in each game. Poor stuff. Exactly what you don’t want from a double gameweek.


Aaron Ramsey looks great in first full game back for Arsenal, scoring and picking up two assists. The Gunners are now one point ahead of Everton for the final Champion’s League spot and Ramsey will be a big part of keeping it that way in the final few games … Tottenham has quietly turned things around has done its part in locking up a Europa League spot. It will be another summer of change at White Hart Lane, but at least these pieces are falling into place … At the beginning of the season, who would have thought that Crystal Palace would put together a five-game winning streak at any point of the season? Well, that’s where Tony Pulis’ boys sit now, with one of the longest by any team … What a turnaround by the former Stoke manager … Congrats to Burnley, which has sealed its return to the Premier League by wrapping up second place in the League Championship. It will join Leicester City next season along with the playoff winner … As for the Championship playoffs, the race is incredibly interesting. With the first three spots essentially decided, there is a seven-team race for the final berth. Any team from Bright & Hove Albion down to Watford in 12th really has a chance. With two gameweeks left, it is certainly worth watching.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

Leave a Reply