Manchester United in Disarray

David Moyes is no Alex Ferguson. There is growing doubt if Moyes is suited for the job at Manchester United and the fear is that if he is brought back for next season, Manchester United will continue to gravitate to mediocrity.

Manchester United is missing a team concept. They play without intensity and devoid of purpose. There are an impressive eleven on paper but there is a dearth of chemistry.


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The EPL: No Easy Road

The EPL this weekend was not like the Super-Bowl. Every game was hard fought and a coronation is far down the road.

Liverpool pommelled Everton but was held to a draw by out-of-form West Bromwich. Rodgers has an incredible aggregation of attackers – Coutinho, Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling. With Gerrard back and Henderson growing into a hard working mid-fielder, Liverpool has emerged as a formidable opponent, yet West Brom shut down Suarez and only conceded one goal. That draw set back Liverpool and will make it difficult for them to qualify next year for the Champions League.

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Moyes and the Mouse Trap

David Moyes’ old Club, Everton under Roberto Martinez can’t stop winning and David Moyes with his new club Manchester United can’t stop losing. Moyes without his two impact players, Rooney and Persie, beat Swansea 2-0 at Old Trafford.

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Arsenal: The Aaron Ramsey Show

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

Cardiff City as a recently promoted team to the Premier League has established that they play tenacious football on their home ground. Arsenal came in to Wales as Premier League leaders and tamed the “tigrish” Cardiff aggregation.

Aaron Ramsey was returning home as the Welshman started his football at Cardiff and at the end of 90 minutes had put two goals in the back of the net, giving Arsenal a comfortably defeat of Cardiff (final score 3-1).

Arsenal played like champions as the fluidity of their passing and the running off the ball simply mesmerized the Cardiff defenders. Ozil was at his best and his telling passes into the box paid off with two assists. Wilshire, Giroud, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla and Ozil interchanged in Arsenal’s version of the beautiful game.

They remain in first place, ahead of Chelsea and Manchester City. Some mention must be made of their solidity at the back. Koscielny and Mertesacker play with great understanding and the goalkeeper, Szczesny has matured and makes intelligent decisions and great saves to keep Arsenal in the game.

Wenger and Roberto Martinez have to be serious contenders for Coach of the Year.

Tottenham recovered from their hammering by Manchester City to draw with Manchester United. They played with intensity and attacked with verve and quickness. Perhaps for the rest of the season Andre Villas-Boas’ team will play like contenders and not pretenders.

Manchester United under David Moyes continues to fall from grace. This is a team that depends heavily on Rooney, particularly when Van Persie is not in the line-up. Their major weakness is the lack of creativity in midfield. This draw means they have lost further ground and are struggling in the middle of the pack, an unusual place for an Alex Ferguson team.

Liverpool lost to Hull City 3-1. Suarez did not show up to play. Sturridge is out for 6-8 weeks with ligament damage. The absence of the one-two punch of Suarez and Sturridge will test the fortitude of Liverpool in the coming weeks.

Liverpool scores almost exclusively in the first half and in the game against Hull, fell apart in the second half. Like Manchester United, Liverpool is mediocre in mid-field. They are a decent team but far from being serious contenders for the title.

Chelsea overran Southampton in the second half and came back to win 3-1. But Chelsea plays ugly football, nothing close to the beautiful game. Mourinho made adroit changes in the second half as he played with two strikers, Torres and Demba Ba. It was a workman like performance that catapulted them into second place in the EPL.

Mourinho brought back Juan Mata and it will be interesting going forward if he will stick with the club’s best playmaker.

This week coming the EPL moves to an accelerated pace as there will be numerous games during mid-week. The teams that lack depth will find it difficult to avoid match fatigue. The EPL, like western capitalism, is not a level playing field.

Does the Coach Really Matter?

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

Ask the supporters of Manchester United if the coach matters? Manchester United ran away with the EPL title last year under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tutelage. Sir Alex stepped down and handpicked David Moyes as his successor. Moyes’ Manchester United tied with Cardiff City on Sunday and Manchester United under David Moyes has not played in the normal brilliant manner that is expected of Manchester United.

Moyes’ vacated spot was filled by Roberto Martinez and Everton under the new skipper is playing impressive football, a few notches above David Moyes when he was in the driver’s seat.

Everton provided a thriller against Liverpool over the weekend. The game ended in a 3-3 tie. Both Rodgers and Martinez are astute coaches. But Martinez who is with a club with limited financial means has taken the same David Moyes’ personnel and has Everton playing some of the best football in the EPL.

Under Andre Vilas Boas, Tottenham has been a dry well with an inability to score goals. Before their encounter with Manchester City on Sunday, AVB’s defense was quite tight. Under the attacking prowess of Manchester City, Tottenham gave up six goals, quite a shellacking for a top flight club. AVB failed at Chelsea and thus far his Tottenham stewardship has been far from stellar.

Pellegrini has shown that Manchester City is an attacking marvel at home but their away record is less than mediocre.

Arsenal kept four points ahead of their second place rivals when they managed to defeat Southampton when the opposing goalkeeper gave them a gift horse. The second goal was scored through a penalty kick. Arsenal has lost some of its fluidity in the last couple of games. Their defense remains sterling. The return of Walcott should help in the recovery of the sorely needed offensive fluidity.

Chelsea beat West Ham but Mourinho workman-like approach to the beautiful game of soccer may be becoming anachronistic. The game is no longer just being defensive but displaying sensational offensive prowess. Mourinho’s team does not have the movement off the ball that you see with Martinez’s Everton or Pelligrini’s Manchester City.

In the EPL, it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn and old fashioned coaches like David Moyes and Jose Mourinho are in danger of being left behind.