- United dropped 25 points en route to last season's title... Moyes' men have now surrendered 26 at the halfway stage! Is it finally time to concede their crown?09:39 | 03/01/2014
Having stumbled through the first half of their campaign, David Moyes and Manchester United have now dropped more points than Sir Alex Ferguson’s champions did during the whole of last season.
For even if they were to celebrate victory in every remaining match between now and May 11, they would still fall one point short of the 89 amassed by Fergie’s title winners.
On current evidence, however, the chances of embarking on such a profitable streak appears remote. Is it, then, finally time to concede that their crown has slipped?
Yes, there have been rumours of revival – namely four straight victories in December – but when United are presented with an adversary from the upper reaches of the table they have fallen short.
Indeed, a mini table collated of the matches contested between the top eight teams this term has Moyes’ boys rooted to the bottom.
They have won just once – at home to Arsenal in November – from eight games against those seven rivals.
There are trips to Chelsea and Arsenal on the horizon and, were that ruinous record to persist, then Moyes’ return against the top teams – he failed to win a single away match at United, Liverpool, the Emirates and Stamford Bridge during 11 years with Everton – would again be thrust beneath the spotlight.
But it is their return at Old Trafford which will be of greatest concern to the club’s followers who had long since considered their residence something of a fortress.
‘Fergie’s feartress’, however, has faded. United have surrendered 16 points from 10 outings in their own back yard this season.
You would have to journey back through the final 32 matches of Ferguson’s home reign to equal that loss of points.
Their latest reverse came against Spurs on New Year’s Day, after which Moyes slammed the refereeing of Howard Webb.
Webb, though, was not responsible for the marking which allowed Emmanuel Adebayor to head the north Londoners into the lead, nor the 10 wayward shots which failed to locate the visiting target.
And had the whistler awarded a late penalty for Hugo Lloris’ challenge on Ashley Young – the point of Moyes’ angst – it would have merely salvaged a draw for the hosts, conversion permitting.
Even beyond the numbers, however, there is an obvious over-reliance on Adnan Januzaj to provide the final-third flair which is flickering all too fleetingly. Januzaj is 18 years old, his elders need to shoulder more of the attacking onus.
One of those seniors is Robin van Persie but, with the Dutchman sidelined through a combination of thigh and groin problems, his impact at present is nought and doubts remain over his fitness.
On that score, Moyes has admitted that Wayne Rooney is playing through the pain barrier with a groin injury but he cannot afford to give his star striker a recovery period..
So while a new year had promised much given their festive flurry, the arrival of 2014 has presented some old problems – home defeats and injury woe chief among them.
They are 11 points adrift of top spot and four shy of a Europa League berth.
That being the case, the quest to regain their crown has almost certainly met its expiry date.
According to Dailymail
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