If it wasn't already obvious enough with their disappointing league form, last night the real cracks at Manchester United were showing as they slumped to yet another defeat.
This time, it was at struggling Sunderland in a league cup semi-final that is surely David Moyes' only glimmer of any sort of real silverware this season.
Seeing his side sitting in 7th in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of leaders Arsenal, Moyes also saw his new side crash out of the FA Cup on Sunday, with a 2-1 home defeat by Swansea. Despite qualifying top of their Champions League group, there will not be many fans holding high hopes given the sides current form.
The defeat at the hands of bottom side Sunderland last night did nothing to give fans any sign of hope amidst a period of great displeasure either. They conceded on the stroke of half-time and come the final whistle, they found themselves going into the second leg at Old Trafford 2-1 down to Gus Poyet's side. And there was very little, if anything, for United fans to find hope in from the performance.
Most obvious, again, was the lack of creativity in midfield. The only time there looked like that was changing was when young Adnan Januzaj came into the centre to offer support to the stranded Danny Welbeck. Despite the immense talent the young 18-year-old has, he could not influence the game as he would have wished. He did come close when cutting in from the left side, only to see a curled effort with his weaker right foot creep wide of Mannone's far post.
But he has been a rare glimpse of light in what is becoming an ever darkening season for Manchester United. And Moyes must act now if he is to have any chance of improving his sides form and aiming for the top four, something fans will have expected at the least given the Scot inherited a side that cruised to the title last year.
But they did that while others failed, and since, the likes of noisy neighbours Manchester City and Chelsea have made managerial changes also, but continued to build on the sides they took on. Moyes didn't, with Fellaini his only signing with what looked to be a panic buy at the close of the summer window. If Moyes had wanted to really take him to Old Trafford from Everton, he would have acted on the clause in the Belgian's contract and got him not just cheaper, but also earlier.
This may have given him time to settle rather than being rushed in to try and ease the worrying fans. With Arsenal signing Ozil, United fans have looked on in envy as he and the Gunners currently top the table.
With the January window open, Moyes must act now to rekindle any sort of the authority that Sir Alex's United had season after season. There is much talk about the press on United watching individuals and rumoured interest in others, but they will know all to well that this will be easily disregarded until they see the player holding their clubs shirt. Juan Mata and Arturo Vidal are just two names amongst many that have circled on the back pages, and both could well do the job that Moyes has had a vacancy for since his arrival, a creative and lively midfielder who links with the strikers, wide men and holding midfielder.
Mata seems out of the question to any Premier League suitors, so Moyes will have to look further afield unless he can work a miracle with Chelsea and Mourinho. All to often Carrick and Cleverley are sat side by side doing the same job in the current midfield, and it is failing to work. Carrick is more than comfortable holding on his own, yet Cleverley seems to lack the willingness to attack as much as he could with Carrick behind him.
It couldn't be any more obvious if you painted it on a full moon in neon paint, Moyes needs to find that midfield man capable of unlocking defences with a single split pass, a midfielder eager to go forward through the middle rather than sit back to often, a midfielder who will see wingers making runs in behind and play that vital pass between the full back and centre back. Moyes has not got this, despite signing Fellaini.
The Belgian has looked nothing like the dominant middle man that he was for Moyes at Everton. Should Moyes fail to act this transfer window, the unease surrounding his regime will continue to grow with the fans. And with such dismal home form, the unrest has been easy to see and hear at Old Trafford. It was once a fortress for United, but it is currently a playground for the visiting teams.
Key injuries have also caused Moyes a headache as of late, but this then highlights the lack of depth in his squad, and the need to improve this. A certain 'transition' would have been expected by fans, but the way in which they have fallen off the pace has been a huge surprise to many, not just the fans.
Should Moyes not act now, he could find himself way off the pace come the end of the season, and should United fail to make it into Europe all together this season, then surely questions must be asked of the direction under Moyes.
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