Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Balotelli to Chelsea FC? Salah to Liverpool FC? Goncalves to Man Utd?

Mario Balotelli 
- Mario Balotelli could sign for Chelsea, the AC Milan striker's agent has suggested.

"Balotelli and [Chelsea manager] Jose Mourinho could be reunited because they know each other and they didn't leave each other with hate," Mino Raiola was quoted as telling Italia 1.

"There was a not very nice incident between them, but they parted company on good terms.

"They have remained in contact and there is mutual respect. "Balotelli to Chelsea could happen because Balotelli is a great striker, but [Milan vice-president Adriano] Galliani doesn't want it."

- Daniel Agger has admitted he will have to leave Liverpool if he can not regain his place in Brendan Rodgers' side.

- Man Utd have also been linked with a move for Basel starlet Michael Goncalves, according to the Daily Star.

- Liverpool are rivalling Tottenham for FC Basel winger Mohamed Salah, according to the Daily Mail.

- Dynamo Kiev midfielder Younes Belhanda insists he is still keen on moving to England.

Belhanda has been linked with a move to the Premier League for some time, with Arsenal known to be keen on signing him before he left Montpellier and moved to Kiev during the summer.

"For now, all is well [in Ukraine]," he told beIn Sport.

"My dream is to play in England, but maybe I did not do the right thing last year to attract big clubs."

- David Moyes has told Anderson he can leave Manchester United, according to the Daily Star.
CrunchSports

Monday, October 28, 2013

Predicted Man Utd Starting XI To Face Norwich

Manchester United play host to Norwich City on Tuesday night in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
David Moyes used the full extent of his squad in the previous round against Liverpool and is once again expected to mix things up tomorrow.
Anders Lindegaard could be given a rare start in goal while Rafael may be recalled having been among the subs during Saturday’s 3-2 win over Stoke.  Captain Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand continue to struggle for fitness so Chris Smalling could partner Phil Jones at the back with Alex Buttner given a chance to impress at left back.
Brazilian midfielder Anderson is currently out-of-favour under Moyes but may get some minutes against Norwich but with Marouane Fellaini cup-tied Michael Carrick may retain his place in midfield.
Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa are likely to feature as is summer signing Wilfred Zaha, while the likes of Nani and Ashley Young are also pushing for starts. Striker Javier Hernandez is almost certain to spearhead the attack after coming off the bench to score the winner at the weekend, with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie getting a well-earned rest.
Here’s the line-up Moyes may go with:
What do you think of our team? What would yours be?

Van Persie’s new £11.5m house, most Expensive in Manchester!


Suarez ban may turn Liverpool ‘SAS’ into top duo

Luiz Suarez and Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool’s strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge really has endless potential, and it’s easy to see why on surface level, but there are even more reasons to be optimistic about the ‘SAS’ duo, if you’re a Reds supporter, when you dig a little deeper.
More than just being two high-calibre forwards hindered occasionally by either inconsistency (Sturridge) or temperament (Suarez), they provide welcome relief for one another.
While Suarez is far from Liverpool’s ‘one-man team’, it was starting to look like some opposing teams were strategizing to ‘keep him double-marked and then we’ll be fine’. Sturridge, though, eases the burden on Suarez to deliver the goods and poses a separate threat, stopping teams from just double-marking the Uruguayan.
Sturridge, meanwhile, finds himself joined up top by someone who is not only talented enough to provide him with assists but who is happy to let Daniel be the main man front and centre while Luis drifts right, left and backwards to collect the ball sooner, as well as make runs which leave Sturridge wide open for the midfield to supply to.
And yet, there’s even more to their recent form and momentum than that. And for me, it stems from Suarez’s suspension for biting which kept him out of the start of the current campaign.
I really think Suarez is a better player since coming back, and he was great before the Ivanovic incident of course. It’s too early to say whether he’s completely a changed man, but for now he is playing with a degree of maturity and class which shows how world class he can be when he isn’t his own worst enem y.
Sturridge, meanwhile, came to Liverpool after spells at two big-money clubs in Man City and Chelsea, where many were left to question whether he was good enough for that particularly high level.
The 2012/13 season began with spots at the top of the table seemingly up for grabs with all of the managerial departures and various big signings. Without Suarez there to support Sturridge for those first few games, he knew he had to step up – and he did.
A confident Sturridge and a mature Suarez are a handful for any defence, just ask West Brom. But can they make it last?
For me, it comes down to that moment a bit deeper into the season when teams start to suss out ways to handle the combination of the two, defensively.
Not every game will be a straightforward case of putting the ball into the net for Suarez and Sturridge, of course. And I don’t even just mean the big clashes over European places – as lower teams come really close to the threat of relegation, they’ll be more resolute and determined at the back.
If the two strikers can keep their current mindset even in the face of the occasional frustrating game, great. And the key factor to ensuring this for and Liverpool is whether the midfield can step up and take some responsibility whenever ‘SAS’ find themselves smothered by defenders.
Brendan Rodgers’ preference for a quick-moving, short-passing midfield could be just the tonic at the business end of the season to push a little further forward and try to draw out those more rugged defences who by then will know exactly what their side need for whatever their final season objective is.
Though there were some early objections when Rodgers tried to implement this style in his early months in charge, things are starting to take shape. And after the ill-fated Suarez-Andy Carroll duo attempt, plus looking at the team styles at Uruguay and Ajax where Luis has also shone, the ball-to-feet, play-on-the-ground approach plays to his strengths.
Until then, I expect more great things in the short term from Suarez and Sturridge, and there’s a fair chance that the experience will see the brilliant Suarez help bring Sturridge up to that very top level with him.
And of course, if their partnership can somehow land Liverpool a top four finish amidst some tremendous competition for those Champions League spots this season, it may just put off Suarez’s departure for pastures new a little longer.
As a closing note, I’d like to point out that without any sort of stats book handy on Saturday, I was as surprised as everyone else that it was Suarez’s first hat-trick at Anfield, especially as he averages one every 20 games.
Probably won’t be his last, though, even if he does end up leaving at the end of the season.
YahooSports

Bale to Man Utd? Rooney to Chelsea FC? Mitroglou to Liverpool FC?

Gareth Bale
The Sun: Robin van Persie was involved in two tunnel bust-ups with Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross at Old Trafford.

Also: Furious Manuel Pellegrini snubbed Jose Mourinho's hand as Manchester City suffered a bitter last-gasp defeat at Chelsea.

Daily Mirror: Furious Manuel Pellegrini refused to back Joe Hart after Fernando Torres' 'stupid' last-minute goal plunged City to defeat.

Also: Alan Pardew admits he faces a testing few days after this defeat at Sunderland turned up the heat on Newcastle.

Daily Star: Manuel Pellegrini last night refused to blame Manchester City's cock-up keeper Joe Hart for handing Chelsea a soft win.

Also: Gus Poyet was overjoyed to be 'the scourge of Newcastle' again yesterday as his Sunderland side claimed their first win of the season.

And: Arsenal, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are involved in a three-way fight for Olympiacos striking sensation Kostas Mitroglou.

Plus: Manchester United have been linked with a move for Basel starlet Michael Goncalves...London's top clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham having started keeping tabs on Belgian duo Dennis Praet and Youri Tielemans.

Daily Mail: Fernando Torres grabbed a dramatic last-minute winner for Chelsea yesterday as Joe Hart's season of woe continued at Stamford Bridge.

Also: Lucky, lucky Tottenham. Last season they tended to rely on Gareth Bale popping up with a last-minute winner, but now the Welsh wizard has been replaced by Roberto Soldado, the £26million penalty-taker.

Daily Express: Joe Hart's season of woe plunged to new depths last night as fuming Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini refused to back him after yet another calamity.

Also: Robin van Persie was involved in an angry confrontation with Ryan Shawcross on and off the pitch during Manchester United's 3-2 win over Stoke.

Metro: Manchester United are keeping a close eye on how Gareth Bale adapts to life at Real Madrid with view to a shock move for the Welshman next year.

Also: Chelsea will test Manchester United’s desire to keep hold of in-form Wayne Rooney with a new £35million bid in January.

Daily Telegraph: On a day when Joe Hart and Jose Mourinho both ended up out of their areas, Fernando Torres ended up in a place he looked to have left long ago.

Also: Victory for Sunderland in their biggest game of the season injects optimism into weary minds and spreads belief that, under Gus Poyet, things might not turn out to be quite as bad as feared on Wearside.

The Times: No one saw this storm coming, although perhaps we should have done given Joe Hart's repeated nightmares and Manchester City's defensive mishaps away from home.

The Guardian: Manuel Pellegrini refused to offer Joe Hart a public show of support after the England goalkeeper's last-minute rush of blood presented Fernando Torres with Chelsea's winner and left Manchester City six points from the top of the Premier League.

The Independent: Manuel Pellegrini said he chose not to shake Jose Mourinho's hand after the Chelsea manager celebrated Fernando Torres' winner by running in front of the away benches and jumping into the home fans.
CrunchSports

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rihana's Outfit fail.


Who will win the Champions league? Like = Manchester United


Who is the best?


Messi vs. Ronaldo again takes center stage as Barcelona, Real Madrid battle in El Clasico

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shake hands prior to their La Liga match.
Soccer's most glamorous rivalry resumes this weekend as Spanish heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid resume their eternal slugfest after an unusually long pause for breath.
Seven months have elapsed since these teams last squared off, and that has only added to the intrigue ahead of Saturday's showdown at Barca's Camp Nou Stadium. Since then, much has happened – some of it surprising, some entirely predictable.
Both teams used the summer break to stock up on fresh talent, albeit at an extraordinary level of cost. Gareth Bale became the most expensive player in the world when he signed with Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a reported $133 million, while Barca may feel it got better value with Brazilian wunderkind Neymar, who was a comparative bargain at a mere $80 million.
Each club has a new head coach, too. Gerardo Martino took over the reins at Barca and Carlo Ancelotti assumed the same role in Madrid, each man facing the inevitable weight of expectation that comes with life at one of Spanish soccer's giants. And whatever else is accomplished, both men know that, to a large extent, their legacy will be determined by their performances in these rivalry matchups.
While all eyes are always on any El Clasico, a straight shootout for the Spanish Primera Divisiónchampionship this is not. That is thanks to the welcome arrival of a third legitimate contender in Atletico Madrid, which has played entertaining soccer and also been mightily effective in the opening months of the campaign as the title race's underdog.
But as things change, some just stay the same. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are still the standout players in world soccer, although Zlatan Ibrahimovic of French side Paris St. Germain and the Sweden national team is quickly trying to elevate himself into that glittering realm. Both Messi and Ronaldo continue to rack up statistics for fun, even with Messi somewhat hampered by some niggling injuries over the past few months.
Ronaldo is in an especially rich vein of form with six goals in his last four games for Real, perhaps inspired by the attention surrounding the arrival of Bale and the potential that he could be usurped as the King of the Bernabeu. As recent games have shown, Ronaldo's crown is firmly in place, probably for a good while to come.
The upcoming World Cup is a big carrot for Ronaldo and Messi. For all their club brilliance, international glory has eluded both. Ronaldo is not even guaranteed a place in the summer showcase with Portugal facing Ibrahimovic and Sweden in a do-or-die playoff next month.

For now, though, there are more immediate matters to take care of. With the La Liga title race perilously close, first-place Barca is one point clear of Atletico and three ahead of Real. In Saturday's El Clasico, there is everything to play for, not just the typical bragging rights that go hand in hand with one of the sport's greatest battles for supremacy.
Yahoo Sports

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Neymar confident of El Clasico success

Barcelona forward Neymar will be plying in his first El Clasico on Saturday.
Neymar has told compatriot Marcelo that he is confident that he can help Barcelona beat Real Madrid on Saturday as he prepares for his first taste of El Clasico.
The Blaugrana's Brazilian forward is excited about the highly-anticipated game at Camp Nou having followed the fixture from afar before moving to Catalunya in the summer.
"Yes, Marcelo and I have talked a little bit about the Clasico," Neymar told AS.
"We have a fantastic relationship, he is a good friend, but I told him that Barcelona are going to win.
"The Clasico is the most important game for any player and is the match every player wants to play in. It is the game where each player wants to play his best football.
"This will be my first Clasico and I hope to have a great debut, preferably with a victory."
Neymar has had plenty of experience of high-level derby encounters before moving to Spanish football and does not think he will feel differently beforehand.
"I think the anxiety is the same before any match," he continued. "I understand that we are talking about a very important Clasico. But I think that butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling is the same before any game.
"There are many derbies in Brazil. The one against Palmeiras was my first so-called Clasico and I played a good game. It was a semi-final and we won and I put in a good performance.
"Then, against Corinthians, in a final which we lost and against Sao Paulo, in a semi-final which we won and I had the joy of scoring three goals."
FoxSports

Alex Ferguson's 'sad' autobiography torn to shreds by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

A work of friction: Rodgers sounded a warning over Fergie's book
Views Manchester United managerial legend expresses in new book could taint his legacy warns Anfield counterpart

Brendan Rodgers has warned Sir Alex Ferguson’s bitter autobiography bombshells could backfire spectacularly... and destroy the Scot's own legacy.
Liverpool manager Rodgers said he was “saddened” by the vicious attack on the Anfield club, and its players, which is a strong, running theme throughout Manchester United legend Fergie’s new book.
Rodgers insisted he must defend Kop stars such as Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson, who he claims were unfairly maligned, and delivered a series of cutting ripostes, when he:
Accused Ferguson of trying to bring Liverpool down because he resented chasing them for so many years.
Called the attack on Gerrard ‘incredible’ - and claimed Fergie is the only man in football who doesn’t think the Liverpool and England captain is a top player.
Suggested former Old Trafford boss Ferguson owes Henderson an apology for trying to ‘damage his career’.
Slammed the Scot for ‘inappropriate’ comments that breach etiquette in terms of talking about other clubs’ players.
Hoped his own players don’t feel they can’t say anything privately in the dressing room for fear the manager will later repeat it.
Dismissed claims he is too young at to manage a club such as Liverpool after being appointed at age 39, pointing out Fergie was only a few years older, at 45, when he took over at Old Trafford.
Rodgers even humorously suggested that if Ferguson is right about this Liverpool side being eight players away from winning the title, then United, trailing eighth in the Premier League, must need even more.
But his humour could not disguise a forensic and damning dissection of Ferguson’s comments, when he suggested such a bitter outburst threatens to undermine the legendary manager’s hard-earned legacy.
As lengthy queues formed to buy the book on its release, Rodgers said: “I think there is a sadness to it, as this is something that will probably stay with people for a long while.
“I think every football person would have enjoyed seeing him going out and leaving the legacy he had done. But now people are only going to talk about his comments in the book.”
Rodgers was less courteous over Ferguson’s attacks on Gerrard - who the Scot claimed was “not a top, top player”, and Henderson - who Fergie bizarrely suggested ran in too upright a manner, which would lead to injury problems.
The Kop boss said: “It was a breach of etiquette, and it surprised me, coming from someone with such a status in the game. As someone who has worked with young players he must understand the impact his words can have.
“Jordan is an incredible athlete, and for a young player making his way in the game, those comments could be damaging. I would hope that if Ferguson bumps into Jordan, he would apologise for that.
“As for Steven, it’s not credible really, he must be the only one in football who doesn’t think he’s a top, top player.”
Rodgers insists he is proud of the history and dignity of Liverpool as a club.
He hinted that bitterness built up over the years when the Anfield side dominated English football may be behind a lot of the sour grapes.
“When you have been a successful club like Liverpool, chasing them for so many years, you have to find ways of bringing them down. But this is a club that has class, a club that has history,” he added.
Rodgers had one last response to Ferguson’s jibes, when asked about the claim he is eight players away from winning the title:
“Eight? Well at least that’s probably two less than they need to win the league then....!”
The Mirror

Lewandowski to Man Utd? Costa to Chelsea FC? Llorente to Arsenal FC?

Fernando Llorente 
- Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski is still a January transfer target for Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, according to Goal.com.

- Jose Mourinho wants Chelsea to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa in January, according to the Daily Mirror.

- Fernando Llorente is keen on a January move to Arsenal in a bid to save his World Cup hopes, according to the Daily Mirror.

- David Moyes insists he will not let Javier Hernandez leave Manchester United during the January transfer window.

Hernandez recently claimed that he needs more playing time, either at United or elsewhere, and Tottenham are reportedly considering a bid for the Mexico international when the transfer window reopens.

- Jorginho has broken his silence over a potential move away from Hellas Verona with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool set to launch January bids for his services, according to the Daily Star.

- Perth Glory have signed former Arsenal and Chelsea defender William Gallas.
CrunchSports

42 Legends


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hughes to Liverpool FC? Wilshere to FC Barcelona? Sneijder snubs Chelsea FC?

Jack Wilshere
- Sir Alex Ferguson has repeated his claim that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney asked to leave the club at the end of last season.

- Liverpool have loaned Andre Wisdom to Derby as a bargaining chip for Will Hughes, according to the Daily Star.

- Wesley Sneijder has insisted he is happy to stay at Galatasaray after being linked with a move to Chelsea.

"Everywhere Jose Mourinho goes they make some rumours about me following," he told told Lig TV.

"Whatever club I'm at I will give 100%. I love this club and I am not even thinking to leave. It's just rumours and you will see come January I will be linked with Chelsea again but I am staying here.

"Every transfer market I am apparently moving to one club or another but these are just rumours, I am happy and I like life here."

- Barcelona are keeping tabs on Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, according to the Daily Star.

- Nuri Sahin has revealed that he has been close to signing for Arsenal on a number of occasions over the past couple of years.

"It was very close in 2012," he told reporters.

"Three times in my career I was almost at Arsenal. It never happened, but that is normal in football. I think I was 16 the first time and then last summer we spoke with Arsenal, but in the end I signed with Liverpool."

- Patrice Evra is set to leave Manchester United at the end of the season and return to France, according to the Daily Mirror.
CrunchSports

Manchester United Vs Real Sociedad Probable Lineup.


Top 10 Champions League Scorers


Monday, October 21, 2013

Benzema to Arsenal FC? Klopp rejected Chelsea FC? Cabella to Man Utd?

Karim Benzema 
- It has been claimed that a Premier League club - believed to be Arsenal - will table a €50million bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in January.

FIFA agent Francois Gallardo told Le Sport 10: "A very important Premier League club is after Karim. This club wants the transfer to happen this winter, but if this is not possible, then next summer at the latest. The offer will be around €50million."

- Jurgen Klopp has claimed that he turned down offers from Chelsea and Manchester City during the summer to stay with Borussia Dortmund.

"There were some English clubs that called and wanted to speak with me," Klopp told The Sun.

"But there was no reason to talk to them because... No chance."

- Montpellier have told Manchester United that they can sign midfielder Remy Cabella in January for €18million.

Montpellier coach Jean Fernandez said: "He is an intelligent boy who has made a good start to the season. Now in the winter transfer window if Manchester United offers €18million, as I see it, he must go. Even if you 'kill the team', you can't refuse."

- Jose Mourinho has told Barcelona to forget about making a move for Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid.

- Valencia are plotting a January loan move for Liverpool's Tiago Ilori, according to the Daily Express.
CrunchSports

Which is the best?


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Arsenal to make £43million bid for Karim Benzema in January, hints agent

A recognised Fifa agent has suggested that Arsenal are ready to make a £43million bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in January.
Arsenal are reportedly set to bid for Karim Benzema
The Gunners are known to be long-term admirers of Benzema, having tried to sign him from Madrid over the summer.
The 25-year-old eventually stayed put, but respected agent Francois Gallardo says an unnamed Premier League club – almost certainly Arsenal – will try and get him in the new year.
‘A very important Premier League club is after Karim,’ Gallardo told Le Sport 10.
‘This club wants the transfer to happen this winter, but if this is not possible, then next summer at the latest.
‘The offer will be around €50million [£43million].’
The renewed link with Benzema comes just days after Arsene Wenger promised to continue spending big money on players, following the £42.5million signing of Mesut Ozil.
Benzema fits the bill of exactly the type of player Wenger has been looking for, with a powerful striker thought to be top of his list of new year priorities.
Metro

Manchester United boss David Moyes rejects Fergie fear factor

David Moyes has rubbished claims Manchester United are struggling because of the absence of Sir Alex Ferguson.
David Moyes: Battling to step out of Sir Alex Ferguson's shadow
United stuttered to a 1-1 home draw against Southampton on Saturday to leave the reigning champions eight points adrift of Premier League leaders Arsenal and only four above the relegation zone.
Moyes was handpicked by Ferguson as his successor in the summer as the veteran manager called time on a 26-and-half-year reign at Old Trafford and his team have begun the new campaign in lacklustre fashion with one win in four home league games.
Some critics have suggested visiting players now head to Old Trafford confident of upsetting the hosts, but Moyes said: "I think the fear factor is from the team on the pitch, that's always the case.
"The players are the thing because of their quality. Obviously Sir Alex has a great history and there is all his experience but the players will always be what matters on the pitch."
Despite the early wobbles for Moyes since moving from Everton, Ferguson has insisted that winning any trophy in his first season would be a creditable performance.
It took Ferguson nearly four years following his arrival at Old Trafford from Aberdeen to win his first silverware, with the 1990 FA Cup success giving him the breathing space he needed to set the club on the path to 13 English League titles and two Champions League triumphs.
"For David, winning a trophy would be a fantastic achievement," Ferguson told MUTV.
"No matter what it is - the League Cup, FA Cup, European Cup or Premier League. It is not easy winning a trophy in our league because you could say there are six teams fighting for the league."
Ferguson was in the stands on Saturday and would have been frustrated to see Adam Lallana scramble in Southampton's equaliser in the 89th minute to cancel out Robin van Persie's early strike.
And Moyes was upset at the inability of his players to kill off the game having led for so long.
"It's disappointing because we wanted to get a bit of momentum going and we weren't able to do that," the Scot added.
"We didn't do well enough defensively. We work on that in training but we should probably have put the game to bed earlier on. But we've got to do better at set-pieces, make sure we defend it and make sure we're harder to score against than we were."
SkySports

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2013-10-19 EPL Manchester Utd v Southampton MOTD Highlights HD

Video: MPEG4 Video (H264) 1280x720 25fps
Audio: AAC 48000Hz 6ch [English]
File Format: .mkv

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Robin Van Persie & Wayne Rooney Stat Attack


Image: Shinji Kagawa girlfriend


Image: Luis Nani with his girlfriend Daniela


Deal goal and apologizes for missed chances # Respect


Pure Arsenal goal to pass


Ibrahimovic scores an amazing heel


Moyes motivation?

After Man United dropped points against Southampton, Matt Stanger ponders how David Moyes' negativity is harming the champions' belief...

David Moyes: United were slow in possession and again looked devoid of ideas
A day that started with Manchester United announcing a significant victory for David Moyes as Adnan Januzaj committed to a new five-year deal, ended with the manager again looking woefully out of his depth. Southampton thoroughly deserved their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and should arguably have taken all three points after dominating the champions for large spells before and after Robin van Persie's opening goal.

Southampton are riding the crest of a wave as they enjoy an excellent start to the season, but United should be deeply concerned by the speed at which their unbeatable aura is evaporating. Clearly the champions possess enough quality to beat a team who finished 13 places below them in the Premier League last year, but they were slow in possession and again looked devoid of ideas in the final third. A repeat of the defeat by West Bromwich Albion would not have been a surprise.
Not a great deal can be said of Moyes' team selection on Saturday - with Januzaj again repaying the manager's faith with a wonderful pass in the build-up to Van Persie's opener - but there is plenty of room for criticism in the way he responded to the Saints' fight-back. Courage could have killed off the visitors, but instead Moyes chose the cowardly option to try and shore-up a 1-0 lead at home to a team who have averaged just a goal a game this season. The complaints Liverpool fans held against Roy Hodgson now seem to apply at Old Trafford.
Moyes' judgement in the big job has thus far been clouded by fear, beginning with his over-reliance on Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in United's shaky start to the campaign and continuing against Southampton with three crushingly negative substitutions that predictably spurred Saints to find an equaliser. Replacing Nani, who was having one of his better days, with Ryan Giggs exhibited weakness; bringing on Danny Welbeck for Marouane Fellaini was absurd; and to sub Wayne Rooney for Chris Smalling in the dying stages was needless.
The effect of these changes saw United retreat under renewed Southampton pressure as the atmosphere inside Old Trafford swung from expectation of a routine victory to the sudden fright at further dropped points. Such negativity may have been shrewd at Everton to hold on to a result in the last half-hour but by now Moyes should know that it is United's nature to look for the jugular. His substitutions shackled the beast, and even as Saints opened up in search of an equaliser, the champions still could not pick them off on the counter-attack.
One wonders what Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Wilfried Zaha made of Moyes' reluctance to put the game beyond Southampton as the trio's absence from match action continued. Van Persie must also have been frustrated as he was forced to drop deeper and deeper as the service dried up in the second half, while Rooney will rue that final eight minutes he spent on the bench as Smalling was required to join the quest for a late winning goal.
Perhaps, under Sir Alex Ferguson, United would have snatched a crucial strike at the death to save themselves from the embarrassment of winning only three of their first eight fixtures. But Moyes is rapidly imbuing a lack of belief at Old Trafford, vaporizing the drive and desire that the champions demonstrated so readily as they romped to the title last season.
While Ferguson's final United side possessed plenty of faults, at least they had heart and hunger. Moyes' team, on the other hand, is so depressingly ordinary. The players are neither performing for the manager, nor has he shown that he can get the best out of a group with far more quality than which he is used to. You can have the fastest racing car in Formula 1, but it will still drive like a Skoda if you put the wrong man behind the wheel.
SkySports