Football

Why Moyes must have a successful March

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Manchester United have enjoyed another break from competitive football due to the international fixtures and absence from any scheduled league games over the previous weekend, providing another opportunity for David Moyes to get his plans together and reinvigorate his team or perhaps for the players to belatedly clear their heads and finally perform for their manager.

Saturday's game against West Brom signals the beginning of a month which is either going to provide some salvation in a torrid first season for the chosen one (a name which would always weigh heavily) or a month which further destabilises the future of Sir Alex Ferguson's hand-picked successor.

The fixture list for the month starts with a trip to the Hawthorns, where despite the struggles of the midlands team, still can be a difficult game in a season where no points are a given to the 20-time Premier League champions. The first meeting of the two sides at Old Trafford saw West Brom leave with three points, the birth of United's consistent wobbles - something United must strive to rectify by getting a result. 

Then, a pivotal game against Brendan Rogers high-flying Liverpool, which will be a typically charged affair as England's two most successful teams lock horns once again. A win for Moyes against their geographical rivals could be huge, in terms of confidence and to ease some of the pressure which is ratcheting rapidly.

A return to Champions League action gives United the perfect opportunity to correct their abysmal performance in Athens against a mediocre Olympiakos, which was like watching a car crash in slow motion. The two goal deficit is certainly retrievable and, if United turn up, you would expect them to progress.

West Ham away will be typically hostile, against the London based side who are on the rise after shooting up the congested table recently.

Afterwards, the Manchester derby. It's no secret Manchester City are now a superior team to Manchester United and collecting their first trophy of the season in the Capital One Cup will have whet the appetites of the Citizens. March then ends for United when they play host to Aston Villa.

You would assume a couple of bad results against Liverpool and Manchester City would only fuel the fires of discontent that ember in the hearts of fans so accustomed to success, that failure is an almost entirely alien prospect. Moyes needs results, if not to appease the fans but to assure the Glazers that he is the man to spend their money in summer.

Snapshots of Sir Alex Ferguson enjoying his retirement by attending the Oscars evokes thoughts of how he would react with a squad, despite being somewhat devoid of talent, still under-performing so drastically. I can't imagine the players slumping to these depths under his ruling.

However, it's difficult not to be sympathetic towards Moyes when his players are the ones performing so insipidly.

Robin van Persie coming out and voicing his frustration is not helping anyone - his manager, nor his team-mates. The Dutchman's commitment is not absolutely transparent. If you cast your mind back to Arsenal's less successful seasons of recent years, Van Persie would be absent through injury, something we have seen this season during United's struggles.

Against Olympiakos, RvP and Wayne Rooney looked like they've never met each other. Tom Cleverley looks like he needs a break from first team action.

Shinji Kagawa has been ineffectual of late, but a recent YouTube video which has gone viral would suggest he's not being used correctly in this team. In the video, we see at least 10 occasions where Kagawa was not given the ball early enough in prominent positions, instead it was played out wide to be fecklessly delivered by Ashley Young or Chris Smalling.

Whether this is because of Moyes' tactics or the players themselves is difficult to determine. It's likely to be a combination of the two factors.

The summer and next season was set to define Moyes' early reign and it would be disappointing to see him prematurely get the boot because some players are no longer reaching the levels they are capable of. To an extent, it's the manager's responsibility to tease that out of the players, but this is a team that is appears devoid of basic commitment which should be the bread and butter of any Manchester United team.

The players are producing performances befitting of the Manchester United shirt and whether the manager pays the ultimate price or some of the players do remains to be seen. 


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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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