After bidding a sad and tearful good-bye to Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United expected David Moyes, the Scot hand-picked by Sir Alex himself to start off from where his predecessor left. Unable to bear the load of expectations as it seems, Moyes has endured a tricky start to the job.
United still lack the player the they lost in Paul Scholes and the draw against Chelsea and the loss to Liverpool shows that United still dearly miss their retired midfield lynchpin. Although the solution might be in their own squad in Shinji Kagawa, Moyes needs to show his belief in the player and give him time to regain his confidence and his form back that made him a hit at Dortmund.
The Red Devils failed with several bids over the summer, losing out on a £21.6-million deal for Thiago Alcantara, who joined Bayern Munich. United did make the deadline day acquisition of Marouane Fellaini from Premier League rivals Everton, though, and he brings the much needed strength and force in the United midfield. Fellaini is a box-to-box midfielder but he does provide an attacking threat in the final third as well has exceptional aerial ability.
Nevertheless, United are still missing a player with that creative flair that could well take them all the way this time. Ryan Giggs is being used as the player to connect the attack with midfield but even he is nearing the end at 39 years of age.
Last season, the exhilarating form of Robin van Persie won them the league, but they were still a disappointment in Europe and in the other domestic competitions. With the doubts still looming large over Wayne Rooney’s future, United must be kicking themselves for not making a marquee signing this summer.
The defence and attack have the correct mixture of experience and youth, but with the retirement of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs nearing the end of this career and Fletcher still recovering, only Anderson and Cleverley remain as the central-midfielders, and they keep falling short of expectations of the United faithful. The wingers, Valencia, Nani and Young, have been awfully inconsistent and Zaha still lacks the experience of top flight football.
That just leaves the consistent pass-master Michael Carrick, but he can't be the one to solely bare the burden of the lack of quality in the midfield.
Unless someone from the squad doesn't stand up and shine, United have a year of disappointment ahead - even a January signing might be a little too late - and fans will be hoping that Fellaini is the last puzzle piece that can drive United forward.