Does Moyes have the ability to save Man Utd after City fiasco?
Football writers sense blood as new United boss looks powerless during derby day humiliation
Manchester City 4 Manchester United 1: David Moyes suffered "abject humiliation" as Man United were thrashed by local rivals Man City on Sunday, according to the BBC. The stunning 4-1 scoreline means that it is now open season on new United boss David Moyes, who took on the daunting job of replacing Alex Ferguson in the summer.
So far things have not panned out as Moyes would have hoped at Old Trafford. His side now sit in eighth place in the table and, along with the likes of Hull City, have garnered only seven points in the first month of the season, losing two of their first five league fixtures in the process.
It does not bode well for Moyes, and the football writers are lining up to point it out.
"For all the talk of United being a brilliantly constructed machine that would go on clearing everything in its path regardless of who was steering, Moyes has woken in another world," says Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph.
One of the main problems he faces is inspiring the same level of commitment from his players as his predecessor managed. The beating "exposed not only a gulf in class but a lack of diligence among players who no longer have to go around fearing Ferguson's wrath".
But there were tactical problems as well. City were so superior it was at times "a complete footballing destruction", says Barney Ronay in The Guardian.
"Most worryingly for Moyes, deprived of Robin van Persie and with his team arranged in a distinctly linear version of 4-4-2, there was a sense of something drab and retrograde about the scope of United's ambition," he adds, comparing United to Roy Hodgson's England at their most tortured.
"There will not be too many scorelines that resonate louder or longer than this," says Matt Dickinson in The Times. And what happens now will be crucial. "Under Ferguson, there was always the firm expectation of an almighty backlash. That is what Moyes must try to trigger now."
Yet Moyes appeared bewildered at the events unfolding before his eyes at the Etihad. "He barely ventured off the bench in the second-half," writes Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. "It was as if he had been rocked back in his seat, shocked, stunned, rendered mute in disbelief. In this way, he mirrored his team."
In games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City this season he has seen his team score one goal and collect one point, points out Samuel. And he adds that if defeat is blamed on the loss of a single player, the injured Van Persie, then "Moyes has a castle built on sand".
That, though, could be the case, implies Sam Wallace in The Indpendent. "In recent weeks the deficiencies of the squad he has inherited have been made painfully obvious and never more so than this weekend. Without Robin Van Persie, out with a thigh injury, United's only credible performer was the man who spent all summer trying to leave, Wayne Rooney," he says.
Things look so bleak that Greg Stobart of Goal.com says after just five games of the season United should "forget about the title". And things could get even worse. "They cannot afford any mistakes or Moyes may have to contemplate the ultimate disaster: failure to even qualify for next season’s Champions League," he suggests. ·