Manchester United has swayed from crisis to recovery in a turbulent first few months of David Moyes tenure at Old Trafford. A week ago,the English champions were celebrating early qualification from the group stage of the Champions League after its biggest away win in Europe in nearly 50 years. Seven days later and their Premier League title chances appear to be in tatters after a 1-0 home loss to Everton that left United in ninth place,12 points off leader Arsenal.
With the top three of Arsenal,Chelsea and Manchester City finding some good form,United cannot afford another slip-up at home against Newcastle on Saturday. Moyes task will be made all the more difficult,with the suspension of Wayne Rooney and the possible injury-related absences of striker Robin Van Persie and midfielder Michael Carrick.
United has picked up only two points from its last three matches to slip way off the pace set by Arsenal,and the frustration at the clubs slide is showing on Wayne Rooney. In the 2-2 draw at Cardiff late last month,the striker was fortunate to escape with a booking after kicking out at an opponent. Then,against Everton,he earned another yellow card for leading with his elbow on Phil Jagielka,his fifth booking of the season,leading to a suspension.
Thats a major blow for Moyes,with Rooney having been easily Uniteds best player this season with 10 goals in all competitions. Throw in Robin van Persies continued absence with toe and groin injuries and Uniteds problems in central midfield that have been exacerbated by an injury to Michael Carrick,and Moyes has problems ahead of the Newcastle game.
Arsenals tough fixtures
After ending a 21-year wait for victory at United,is it too much to ask for Everton to secure a first win at Arsenal since 1996? Probably,given Arsenals recent run that has seen the team win its last four games without conceding a goal,but Everton is in good form itself after backing up a 4-0 victory at Stoke with that win at Old Trafford.
In Roberto Martinez,Everton has one of the countrys most highly rated young managers. And he is getting the best out of a young,hungry squad. The team is currently fifth and a top-four finish is not out of the question. For Arsenal,they face Everton,Napoli,Chelsea and Manchester City in quick succession in the league and in Europe.
First it was Sergio Aguero at Man City. Now its Luis Suarez being compared to Spanish league stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by his manager after a four-goal show for Liverpool in the 5-1 thrashing of Norwich on Wednesday. With Daniel Sturridge out injured,Suarez will again lead the line for Liverpool in Saturdays home match against West Ham. He is the leagues top scorer with 13 goals,despite missing the first five matches of the campaign while he served out a suspension for biting carried over from last season.