On Tuesday, Manchester United finally brought an end to David Moyes’ miserable reign at Old Trafford. Even this most sacred of institutions-who were supposed to be anathema to the prevalent football culture of sacking managers at the drop of a hat- could not allow it continue any longer. As the team lurched from one defeat to another, it is quite ironic that United’s dispiriting defeat- and performance- at Goodison Park, where David Moyes built his “legacy”, proved to be the final straw that broke the camel’s back forcing the United board to pull the plug.
Roberto Martinez’s work at Goodison Park has further served to highlight Moyes’ failings and limitations. Having championed the virtues of team spirit, discipline and organization at Goodison Park, Moyes tried to transplant those very virtues to Old Trafford. But to succeed at Manchester United you need more than those even if a case can be made against the quality of players Sir Alex Ferguson left his fellow Scot with. Moyes cannot offer any excuses though. His rap sheet has been discussed to death by every media outlet out there and does not require any repetition here.
What Moyes’ ill-fated tenure has highlighted, though, is how a lack of scientific approach in managerial recruitment and selection can come back to bite an organization. It would not be unfair to say-given the way things have panned out in the last 9 months-that the Glazers have fluffed with their first major footballing decision. Despite taking enormous amounts of money out of the club, they had piggybacked on Sir Alex Ferguson’s genius to sustain success. Now, in choosing Sir Alex’s successor they have been found wanting. The Glazers’ decision to allow Sir Alex to pick his successor-with complete disregard for the enormity of task- has brought more pressure on them to get the decision right as they choose Moyes’ successor.
Anyway, let us digress and look at how badly Manchester United have regressed this season statistically. Our Corresponding Fixtures Table shows that Manchester United are at the bottom of the table and have been for most of the season. As has already been mentioned in this series of articles, for the purpose of uniformity we are comparing Hull City’s fixtures to Reading; Crystal Palace’s fixtures to QPR; and Cardiff City’s fixtures to Wigan.
With a corresponding points difference of -19, Manchester United are the worst performing team in the Premier League. What must be galling for Manchester United fans is their poor home form which has seen them slip to 7th in the Premier League table. With 24 points from 16 games, United are 11th in terms of points attained at home-behind Crystal Palace, Southampton and Hull City. Old Trafford-a fortress for so long-became a favourite hunting ground for even the lesser sides as West Brom, NewCastle and Moyes’ previous team Everton. Tottenham and Manchester City too recorded easy wins at Old Trafford.
This is reflected in our Corresponding Home Fixtures Table in which United, again, find themselves at the bottom.
As we can see from the table above, United are 15 points worse at home than last season. For a club as big as Manchester United, this is simply unacceptable. What makes this more unacceptable is the fact that most major teams in the Premier League have improved on their home tallies this season. Liverpool are +15; Chelsea are +9; Manchester City are +7; Arsenal are +6 and Everton +3. While their away record is much better- they are the second best away side in the Premier League with 33 points from 18 games- their woeful home form means they were never really in contention for the title or a Champions League place.
United’s record against teams in the top 7 also makes for horrendous reading and has been used as a stick to beat Moyes with. One of the biggest criticisms of Moyes’ time at Everton had been the lack of invention and boldness they showed against teams better than them and that spilled over to his tenure at Old Trafford.
In 12 games against the top 6 sides, United have taken an abysmal 6 points taking 4 points at home and 2 on their travels. Their only win in those 12 games came against Arsenal in November. This compares poorly with the records of other top7 sides. The table below shows the point tallies, goals scored and goals conceded by Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United in games amongst each other.
Stats are compiled by Chaitanya Gööner with the help from footballwebpages.co.uk