There’s nothing surprising about any loss Manchester United go through this season, and that might be the biggest thing to hold against David Moyes. It might not be his complete fault, but turning the champions into a side were losing is not just acceptable but often expected these days is unforgivable in the eyes of some.
It’s not just staying away from the title race; the poor performances on the pitch; and his overall running of things, from the transfer market to tactics to failing in improving or at least keeping most of the team’s players at a decent and consistent level.
Simply too many firsts are happening under his watch, which began in August with a win over Swansea away from home, but that might have been the team’s best moment this season in the league, while beating Leverkusen 5-0 in the Champions League is the overall high point of the season so far.
United’s first loss this season was at Anfield against Liverpool; nothing new, but Moyes has consistently failed with Everton in big matches and Merseyside derbies. Three weeks later his team was picked apart by Manchester City in the Manchester Derby. Not a disaster, but a sign of things to come: A home defeat to West Brom six days later. Not a poaching win from West Brom, who simply played better than their hosts. It was their first win at Old Trafford since 1978.
The boat was steadied for a while, as the Red Devils had 7 consecutive matches without defeat; three of them were draws, including 1-1 at home against Southampton, but the losing stopped, at least until December. Manchester United lost to Everton (1-0) and Newcastle (1-0) as well in matches that had the same writing on the wall: Naive attacking from the home side without too much dangerous chances created before the defensive opponent pegged one back and held on. It was the first home loss to Everton since 1992; the first home defeat against Newcastle since 1972.
Four straight wins to finish 2013 made it seem like things were on the up, but 2014 has been disastrous: Five matches, three losses. They were beaten 1-2 at home by Tottenham, losing to Spurs at home for a second consecutive season; 18 days later came a 1-3 loss at Chelsea and this weekend came a 1-2 loss at Stoke. There was also an FA Cup loss to Swansea at home, which was the team’s first ever loss to them at home, and part of a three-match losing streak to start off the new year. It was the first time since 2001 Manchester United lost 3 consecutive matches in all competitions.
Moyes is making things worse for himself by the way he seems helpless on the sidelines, but also in his comments after matches, talking about luck, referees and what not before starting to mention how badly his players played, or how badly he did as a manager. The loss to Stoke brought out something of despair out of him, saying he doesn’t know what it’ll take for his team to win.