5 Reasons Why Manchester United Have Fallen From Glory
5 Reasons Why Manchester United Have Fallen From Glory
To say that this season for Manchester United has been a rocky one would be quite an understatement and with the most recent result, this season can now be classified as a failure.
Manchester United managed only one shot on target in a lackluster effort during their 2-0 loss away to Olympiakos of Greece in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. The one shot on target did not occur until the 89th minute when the match was already out of reach. United will be dumped out of the competition at this stage for the second consecutive season unless David Moyes and company can figure out how to overturn the deficit.
Champions League failure is not the only cause for concern for the fans at Old Trafford; the club currently sits in sixth position in the English Premier League table just five points behind Tottenham Hotspur for a spot in the Europa League. Contending for a spot in a European competition would be great for most fans but not these fans as United has been a part of every Champions League since the 1995-1996 season when they participated in the UEFA Cup. Fourth-place Liverpool is 11 points up on United for the last Champions League spot with 11 matches to go.
Given the current form of the club compared to the form of those in the top four, it is very unlikely that Manchester United will be able to catch the breakaway group. It will end a streak that may never be reached again in English football. United has finished in the top 3 of the top-flight in English football whether it be the Premier League or the First Division in each of the last 22 seasons. Moreover it will be the first season in the 12 where the club has not won a trophy.
The belief is that this season is just a speed-bump in the big picture. Struggles are common when there is a change in the management position especially when the previous manager had been there since before most of the current crop of talent was born. There is no doubt that United will return to the glory days of the past but for now they will have to deal with the hand they’ve been dealt.
Here are the 5 reasons why Manchester United have fallen from glory.
5. The Rise of English Football
This season has been a perfect storm for knocking Manchester United out of the Top 4. United got a late start in the summer transfer window due to their managerial change and were not able to get the talent that they had targeted while Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all got better. It shows in United's record against these opponents sitting at 1-2-3 with matches to go against Liverpool and City.
If you include United's results against Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Newcastle United as well, Manchester United's mark against fellow Top 8 clubs drops to 1-3-6 with a minus-8 goal differential.
4. Retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson
Fans knew that Sir Alex Ferguson would eventually leave Manchester United after being manager with the club since November of 1986. Most transitions come with their share of struggles but United thought they had found their man in David Moyes. It is still too early to tell whether the hire of David Moyes was a bad one but for now it certainly looks that way.
3. Poor Incoming Transfers
Manchester United has been known to spend lots of money for good talent. Over the years they have paid massive transfer fees for players like Juan Sebastien Veron, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Rio Ferdinand. United picked up Marouane Fellaini from Everton for a price of £27.5 million, an inflated price considering that Fellaini was coming off of a career season where he scored 12 goals in 36 appearances for manager David Moyes. To be fair, Fellaini has struggled with a wrist injury this year which has limited him to 12 appearances including eight starts.
This will be one of the biggest issues that United will need to fix in order to return to the top. They did make a step in the right direction with the acquisition of Juan Mata in January.
2. Keeping Players Well Past Their Prime
This is nothing new for United who would do the same thing under Sir Alex Ferguson. The biggest difference being that Ferguson would start to give the younger replacements more and more playing time as their counterparts would get older. Though players like Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were elite players in their youth, they have struggled constantly against the faster attacking players from their opponents.
Vidic has stated that he will leave United during the upcoming summer transfer window and if United is wise, they will send Ferdinand and Evra out right along side him.
1. Tactical Stubbornness
This issue was brought more into the light after the loss in Greece yesterday as Robin van Persie criticized the tactics used by David Moyes and for good reason as well. Moyes has so many world-class strikers at his disposal and yet he continues to play with only one striker. It usually being either Wayne Rooney or van Persie with the other playing in a central attacking midfield spot.
Meanwhile, Mexican international Javier Hernandez, England internationals Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young sitting on the bench or playing out of position when they do get on the field. While the new thing may be to play in the 4-2-3-1; it is not working for United and they would be best to get back to basics with the standard 4-4-2.