11 points from 8 games is a start to a Premier League season you’d associate with a solid mid-table team. Yet it’s the position facing giants Manchester United, reigning Premier League Champions who won the league by an astronomical 11 point lead in 2012-3. This start hence is a shock to all Red Devil fans across the globe and football fans around the world. The squad is the same bar one or two additions yet United find themselves in very unfamiliar territory rooted to 8th place after 8 games. One change and perhaps telling difference is the absence of one of the most influential managers in football history – Sir Alex Ferguson. Many fans including Reds themselves think Moyes is the reason for the atrocious start to the season. Many suggest that the start is merely a transitional phase that United will see through come May 2014. Therefore the question is: Is this unimpressive start just a transition phase due to a change of manager or is this the beginning of a progressive downhill slope for the Champions of England?
The striking similarities with the Liverpool team of 1989 are slightly worrying for Man United fans right about now. In 1988 Liverpool won the League by 9 points….whilst in 2011 Manchester United won the League by 9 points. In 1989 Liverpool had the title snatched from their grasp by a last minute goal….whilst in 2012 Manchester United also had the title snatched from their grasp by a last minute goal. In 1990 Liverpool romped home to the title by a convincing margin….whilst in 2013 Manchester United also won the league by a convincing margin. Then after their title win, Liverpool’s demise (the start of a 23 year drought of PL titles) came about when they replaced their successful Scottish, legendary manager Kenny Daglish with another Scottish manager – Greame Souness. This year after their title win, Man United have replaced their successful, Scottish legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson with another Scottish manager – David Moyes.
Massive coincidence (what all United fans are hoping)? Or are these massive similarities pointing to the demise of Manchester United?
Sir Alex Ferguson’s first season at Manchester United didn’t go all too well with an 11th place finish in the league suffering a 5-1 loss to Man City on the way. However Manchester United’s owners kept the faith with Sir Alex – look how that turned out, he transformed into arguably the best, most successful manager of all time. David Moyes is the ‘Chosen One’ he was favoured by Sir Alex above all the quality football managers in the world. So of course, If United fans had faith in Ferguson then they should have faith in Moyes as he is Fergie’s man. 8 games in barely 1/5 of the way into the season, yet United are being dubbed as mid-table mediocrity already with many saying the Title and even a Top 4 spot already out of the question this year. Man United are only 8 points off the leaders Arsenal in October after already having played Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City. Of course 1pt from 6 against West Brom and Southampton at Old Trafford are very disappointing results for reigning champions but with 30 games left making assumptions that United will be finishing outside the top 4 is downright naive. Pundits have written off United before and they will again. Nevertheless 8/38 League games have been completed so it’s far too soon to judge any team in any position. Therefore Manchester United shouldn’t be judged so hastily. A manager needs time to work up a masterpiece a la Sir Alex Ferguson, 8 games in charge is a completely unfair amount of time to discount a manager’s credibility. Time will tell whether this unfamiliar position facing Man United is merely a transitional phase through which their quality will shine through or the start of a downhill slope for the Red Devils.
By Hesham Bilal-Hafiz (@hesham786)