From an intangible top of the league position to miserable mid-table mediocrity, Manchester United have had the most unusual season this year. Not only do they find themselves playing under a new management after 26 years, but also their position in the league table is laughably low for the rivals.
Sitting pretty (not) in the 8th spot, the champions are at the receiving end of the brutality they were once known for. With media and the fans writing them off already, there’s still a lot in the red camp to cheer about. No? Well, here are the top five reasons why Manchester United will finish in the top 4 this season.
The Swagger –
There was a very noticable pinch of fearfulness in United’s style of play when they started off their season. The players seemed to lack confidence while going forward. The much cliched ‘United Way’ of playing was missing. They were too defensive, and often too submissive, on the pitch, which was reflected horridly in their results. But thanks to Moyes’ first hairdryer treatment, they haven’t looked the same since.
The poise and the swagger of the champions was very ocular in their game against Aston Villa. They were quite clearly venting their frustration and boy didn’t it pay off. Emotion has always been a key element in their approach. The players and the fans were both drenched with the same.
Thanks to a few tussles between the players that game, United fans saw their team giving the best “not arrogant, just better” impressions. David Moyes too was very passionate all game. It looked like a start of something special. A start of another comeback for the champions? Well, time will tell.
The Lads –
Be it the Busby Babes or Fergie’s Fledglings, one trait every United team has had in common is the backing of their youth products. As it stands, we could be witnessing yet another generation of youngsters making it big at the club. ‘Moyes Boys’, as we call them, have showed that they’ve grown up and can handle the heat of the top flight.
There’s a certain bit of affinity that Moyes has with young players. The likes of Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Jonny Evans have featured dozens of times this season already. 18-year-old Belgian sensation, Adnan Januzaj would’ve not asked for more in his prayers back home. But thanks to the Scot, they all continue feature heavily.
Phil Jones, especially, looks to be making an awful lot out of his chances with some majestic Duncan Edward-esque displays. His leadership and will to win has shone this season. He was tagged as a future England and Man United captain at 18, now you see why.
The Talisman –
After having spent a summer under the clouds of speculation, Wayne Rooney has seemed to have shrugged the idea of departing from Old Trafford. His form has been one of the very few bright spots for the champions this season. He is in the best form of his life. Yes, now you’ll realize the impact he’s had.
The 28-year-old has scored 8 goals this season, bagging up 6 assists and numerous defensive contributions. Thanks to the injuries he has sustained, Robin van Persie has not featured as much as the fans would like him to, but Rooney has made sure his absence does not handicap United by any means.
He also dropped back in centre of the park against Aston Villa, making the midfield a manifold stronger. His impact was immediate and immaculate. He didn’t flutter by any means and often forced the the opponents to change the course of their attack, forcing them to play on wings. There’s a room for forgiveness now, Wazza.
The New Year –
History has suggested that Man United’s best comes post December, and if that’s the case, there’s a lot for United fans to be hopeful about. We have seen in Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign how his players appear rejuvenated after New Year’s Day. With the confidence hitting new heights in the Red Devils’ camp, expect the unexpected.
Another thing that the new year will bring is the January transfer window. There has been a lot of talk about United needing a surgery in midfield for quite some time now. United somehow managed to win things with an average squad, but that was down to Sir Alex’s genius. No manager has ever done that so well.
David Moyes will hence need two midfielders who fit right into the first team and if he manages to do that, we may well be seeing an iconic comeback from the 20-time champions. Another one, yes.
The Gaffer –
A lot of people were forced to believe that David Moyes was not the right man for Man United. But, for us who have watched him at Everton, he is a special manager. Moyes brings a lot of methodology into management. The personalities of his predecessor was a lot different than that of his.
But, it’s not a Tommy Docherty-Dave Sexton scenario. They also have a lot in common. What makes Moyes special is his promotion of young players into the first team. He promoted Wayne Rooney relatively early into the Everton first team and now he is doing the same with Adnan Januzaj. Also, he is excellent at man-management and tactically very sound.
The passion he displays on the touchline makes you believe that he knows what he’s doing. To expect him to set right in was a crime. Now that he’s got to know the squad well, you can expect a part of United coming back. ‘Dithering Dave’, as they called him at Everton, needs to win the fans over now. The resurrection of Manchester United is hopefully soon to follow.