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What is wrong at Manchester United?

Something we'd all like to know as fans of the game, I analyze what could be going wrong at the Manchester Club.

Laurence Griffiths

A late Darren Bent equalizer yesterday ensured another 2 points dropped for Manchester United as they drew 2-2 with Fulham, this then resulted in all the "Fergie Fan Boys" taking to twitter to voice the classic "Moyes Out". Is it really David Moyes at the heart of all of Manchester United's blunders?

Nobody that can speak sense about the game is saying Moyes is innocent but he is not guilty of United's downfall. Previously, Manchester United had a manager for 26 years with the majority of fans that follow United not witnessing change. Sir Alex Ferguson arguably is the best manager of all time and for anyone to come in and replace someone of SAF's stature was always going to be a difficult job. There is no doubt that Moyes will have come in and changed the philosophies of the team, Ferguson's playing style was never recognized as "route 1 football" however to the majority of Evertonians, Moyes' tactics during his time at Goodison Park have never been Swansea-esque but have been quite close to Sam Allardyce's philosophies which arguably brought the best out of midfielder Marouane Fellaini during last season which bought him a hefty price tag but did United pay too much? In my opinion yes, Fellaini was a panic buy for Moyes' as he had not bought anyone all summer, United fans became increasingly stressed with the lack of activity during the Summer window and after being strongly linked with the likes Leighton Baines, Cesc Fabregas and Fellaini, fans wanted to see something so David Moyes bought Fellaini for £27 million on deadline day, 8-9 million too much in my opinion if they should have bought him at all.

Fellaini is not a United player, he's good but he's suited to playing just off a striker where he can bully defenders being fed constant long balls where he is most effective but are Manchester United ever going to play direct football? Not really. Fellaini is just a poor Yaya Toure, the Belgian has reverted back to his holding midfield position where he could be partly relied on on the defensive side of things as he is a strong figure and can run people of the ball or put a foot in and win a tackle but he is clumsy with his feet, he can't pass a ball 40-50 yards or dictate play which is what Manchester United have massively missed since the departures of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes. He is forever going to compared to City's Yaya Toure but Fellaini can not tear defences open with runs like Yaya Toure makes or in fact compete with some of the best midfielders on the world. Juan Mata joined United 3 weeks ago for a record £37.1 million and has been a good signing for United although the Spaniard struggled yesterday against the Premier League's bottom club, the sheer numbers that Fulham piled into their own penalty area after Steven Sidwell give them the lead maybe closed down the space that Mata is normally allowed to play in could be the reason for the Spanish playmaker's lack of influence on yesterday's game.

The lack of confidence in the players has a massive contribution in United's downfall, captain Nemanja Vidic revealed last week that he would leave Manchester United at the end of the season, could he be jumping a sinking ship? There has been ever on going reports coming out of Old Trafford that a mass clear out will happen in the near future with Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley and Patrice Evra being the headliners for exit's out of Old Trafford. Reports of star striker Robin Van Persie wanting out at United becoming an increasing cause for concern, the Dutchman has become unsettled at the Red Devils folllowing the retirement of Alex Ferguson last year. It has become apparent that Van Persie signed for United last year under the assumption that Ferguson would be manager of United for some time to come but seemed to go back on his word to RVP and jumped overboard after one season. Reports linking Van Persie with a move back to former club Arsenal are becoming increasingly reliable which David Moyes will hope to address in the near future.

The increasingly bigger holes in Manchester United's squad are becoming more and more costly for the Reds with their defensive errors becoming more and more apparent even with their best defender Vidic who got drawn out of defence following Fulham striker Muamer Tankovic allowing the space for Steve Sidwell to get Fulham's opener. United's back four is looking old, ragged and shows lack of ability with the likes of Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans looking unable to fill the boots of Vidic and Ferdinand, Phil Jones is being switched from Centre Midfield to Right back and occasionally to Centre back, with Patrice Evra possibly seeking a move back to French giants AS Monaco, United's back line will need a complete restructure program with new players coming to replace Ferdinand and Vidic and replace the mediocre abilities of Evans and especially Chris Smalling. It could be possible for David Moyes to build a completely new defense around Phil Jones.

Although United's attacking line looking to be the only thing that David Moyes has got sorted at Old Trafford this season,the inability to score was highlighted by Mike Phelan and Jamie Carragher yesterday during post-match analysis, a lot of criticism has come about from David Moyes' tactics yesterday as United delivered a staggering 81 crosses yesterday as Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen labelled Manchester United's tactics yesterday 'straight forward' and simply a case of 'Get it wide, get it in'. Of the 81 crosses the Reds put in yesterday (more than any team in a Premier League match since 2006) only 16 of them found a United player, Phelan and Carragher had this to say on Sky Sports:

"You don't put that many crosses into a game without thinking to yourself, is there anything else? Because that hasn't worked, it hasn't worked well enough. Can you start manipulating the play, can you play the little 'give and goes' " said the former United man. "it looked as though Fulham were really really comfortable saying 'Ok, throw the balls in'. As a centre half Jamie will tell you that sometimes, you go into a game where you're happy for that ball to come into the box because you're job is to deal with it and they did terrificly" added Phelan.

"Man United are a crossing team, the crossing was very poor and also Fulham had so many bodies at times in that box, it is difficult to score off a cross. The crosses were all the same, food and drink to the Centre backs." Carragher commented.

United's last minute blunders have now conceded 4 goals in the last 5 minutes, with the late goals from Everton, Southampton, Cardiff and Fulham have cost United 7 points this season. It seems that 'Fergie time" has reversed on the Red's this season as they have only scored 1 in the closing stages of a game. The late goals from Wilfried Bony and Phil Bardlsey in the FA Cup 3rd round and Capital One Cup semi-final respectively have cost United dearly. The inability to see games out in the last 5-10 minutes of a game reverts back to the Players losing confidence in the manager and themselves.

David Moyes hasn't made the best decisions this campaign, the unsettled Wayne Rooney during the early stages of the season surely has had a carried effect. Moyes was quoted saying

'We need Wayne, he is vital for the team, he's needed as cover for Van Persie'

Surely this wasn't the wisest of moves by the United boss, the lack of movement in transfer window has reflected in the lack of creative spark at United before the arrival of Juan Mata, the pressure was put on teenage shoulders in the form of Adnan Januzaj, the 18 year-old has been heavy relied on at Old Trafford this season and has been given high expectations since his heroics against Sunderland earlier this season, is this healthy for the teenager's career and indeed United themselves? Januzaj has been subject to bids from Paris Saint-Germain with supposed bid of £40 million still to come from the French club. It is known that United have rejected bids from PSG in summer and January but it is still uncertain where the teenager will be in the near future. PSG are head of an extensive list of European clubs trying to lure Januzaj away from Old Trafford this season and could take advantage come summer if David Moyes' side are unable to play European football come next season.

The further 2 points dropped yesterday for the Reds has taken their tally up to 18 dropped points at home this season, only being beaten by the 22 points in the 2001/02 season. United must avoid another 5 points dropped in their remaining 6 games at Old Trafford to avoid this campaign being their worst ever at home. Moyes' tactics will have changed how United play particularly at home but could that be the biggest change in their Performances this season? United's team has barely changed from Last season who won the league comfortably by 8 points, does anyone know what is going wrong?

As you can see, there seems to be several things wrong at Old Trafford this season resulting in United lying 7th in the Premier League and only the Champions' League being the only cup competition left on offer however unlikely it would be for the Manchester club to claim what SAF wanted most, however many problems United possess and could obtain in the future, everything ultimately circles back round to the man in-charge, David Moyes. How much time will the Scotsman get before United run out of patience with the former Everton man?