Belfast Telegraph

David Moyes needs fit Evans to try and help Manchester United keep score down against Bayern Munich

By Steven Beacom

It's almost becoming boring now. A team with a bit about them pitch up at Old Trafford and humble the hosts.

Manchester City were the latest side to do it on Tuesday night. Liverpool did it 10 days before. Everton have been there and done it, so too Tottenham and Newcastle.

Even West Bromwich Albion, struggling to avoid relegation, got in on the act.

Six times David Moyes has watched, wondered and winced as his team have been defeated in the Premier League. If you throw in Swansea in the FA Cup, it is seven losses this season on their home patch.

There has been much made of United's inability to score at Old Trafford and it is worth pointing out that they have netted the same number of goals (18) at home this season as Cardiff and Fulham, who are the bottom two sides in the table, but defensively they have been appalling too.

Conceding 18 home goals (one fewer than the whole of last season) in 15 league games may not seem a lot, but the sides United are supposed to be competing with, Manchester City and Chelsea, have shipped that many between them to date.

Wayne Rooney says that the Red Devils have to put the fear factor back into Old Trafford. Somehow I can't see it returning in time to intimidate Bayern Munich next week.

The German giants, who won the Bundesliga on the same evening United were being trounced by City, will be the best side Moyes and his questionable tactics and strange selection policies have faced this season.

If United thought City and Liverpool were good, wait until they see what Bayern can do in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final clash.

United will be under extreme pressure next Tuesday night. It's up to the heart of the defence to deal with it and show others the way. They must be solid not slack.

Rio Ferdinand might still think he is, but he is no longer a big game player. He's slow, cumbersome and lacking belief. The Germans would have a field day with him.

When Sir Alex Ferguson signed Phil Jones the Scot said he could become the greatest player in United's history. We took notice at the time, but given that it was Fergie who chose Moyes, everyone knows now those comments were just balderdash.

Jones runs around like a headless chicken. Bayern would punish such indiscipline.

Nemanja Vidic has been out of sorts this season too, but he has the character to raise himself for one last major challenge before leaving in the summer, and beside him, if fit, should be Jonny Evans.

The Northern Ireland man has been far from perfect this season. He is the only central defender at United, however, who has at least looked capable of doing his job right.

His inclusion may not ensure that United keep a clean sheet, but it might just help keep the score down!

Belfast Telegraph


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