Nothing new for David Moyes

In all the debate over how well or badly David Moyes is doing at Manchester United, one thing hasn’t quite been covered yet: his Everton side were notoriously slow starters but finished strongly and, when the final table was read, the general consensus was that they overachieved. This happened year upon year, almost throughout his tenure with the Toffees.

Let’s examine Everton’s last 5 seasons under Moyes:

Season After 10 games After 19 games After 30 games Final position
2012/13 4th 5th 6th 6th
2011/12 17th 11th 9th 7th
2010/11 8th 11th 8th 7th
2009/10 13th 11th 8th 8th
2008/09 12th 6th 6th 5th

His last season aside, Everton have generally performed fairly poorly until the second half of the season, after which things start to click and they make a late charge for the European places. A team assembled on a threadbare budget consistently found themselves in and amongst the European places come the end of the season, despite mid-season stories that this was finally the year they had been found out.

The consistently upward trend each season points to some form of planning for the future from the former Everton boss, adopting the “marathon, not a sprint” approach. While other teams place a higher emphasis on starting brightly and maintaining momentum, Moyes’ Everton seem prepared to start slow and pick up speed at the end, banking on those who will end up around them running out of steam and dropping points towards the end, and capitalising on that. This has seen them finish consistently around 7th place, despite starting slowly.

This bodes well for Manchester United, in that they’ve followed exactly the same pattern – they’ve started very slowly, but every so often put a chain of wins together that keeps them within touching distance of the Champions League places.

Season After 10 games After 19 games After 30 games Final position
2013/14 8th 6th ?? ??

If you compare Manchester United’s positions with Everton’s positions over the past five years, it’s not all doom and gloom, and by no means should United fans be fretting about whether they will make it into the Top Four. Everton’s form should give encouragement that United could and should be able to make a charge for the top three at least – at this stage, a title tilt is not completely out of the question (assuming Manchester City do drop points. The others will, but City at present are looking ominous).

On top of David Moyes’ planned trajectory for United, we also need to consider their ability to strengthen, and the size of the club. For all the fear mongers worried that, should United miss out on the Champions League, they won’t be able to attract the star names, you only need to look at Liverpool. They haven’t been in the Champions League reckoning , yet they have still been able to attract top quality players and are still regarded as a major player. Manchester United would go through the same thing, but would have an even better advantage as their success was more recent, and they still have some of their best players. Even without the lure of Champions League football, not many players would turn down the chance to sign for Manchester United. Sir Alex has built United’s reputation enough so that Ed Woodward and Moyes have a couple of seasons to get to grips with the realities of a Manchester United before they can start to make a real impact. Obviously, the sooner they do it the better, but they do have some time to make mistakes before they can really be classed as “out of their depth”.

For all Manchester United’s squad deficiencies (particularly in midfield), they still have a number of world class players who should be able to lift the team when push comes to shove. The likes of Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney should be able to knock some heads together if needs be, and drive the team forward. The team is not as weak as some would believe, and certainly is not a Europa League squad. A lot of emphasis is on the manager to motivate the team, but the squad is full of international class players who should be capable of motivating themselves and each other to be the best they can be.

It may be half way through the Premier League season, but it is still too early to judge this as a success or failure for Manchester United. Considering Everton usually made a late charge into the European spots during Moyes’ tenure, it’s not too big of a leap to half expect the same thing of David Moyes’ Manchester United.

By Raj Devandran – Arsenal fan – @Muqabala1 

2 thoughts on “Nothing new for David Moyes

  1. Excellent piece, especially from an Arsenal fan! Moyes will come good just like his Everton side did he just needs (and deserves) time.

  2. Everton’s objectives and pressures are completely different to the likes of Utd, Arsenal etc. Moyes hasn’t been in this position before because it’s a different animal to that of the challenge he faced at Everton. He hasn’t coped well at all so far.

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