David Moyes wrong to defend Marouane Fellaini

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No goals, one assist, zero physicality, timid play, $46 million.

That’s what Marouane Fellaini has meant to Manchester United this Premier League season, and yet his manager has his back.

According to Red Devils manager David Moyes, the Belgian has “done a lot good things” this year.

It’s still unknown if Moyes is referring to the same Fellaini that we are, because it’s difficult or impossible to figure out just what “good things” Moyes is referring to.

The boss used the Bayern Munich Champions League match as an example. In reality, Fellaini was the only Manchester United player who did nothing to justify their 1-1 final scoreline from Old Trafford.

He was erratic on the pitch, useless in the air, and reckless on the ball.

According to Opta, Fellaini finished the Bayern match 24/32 passing (75%), completed just one tackle, two interceptions, and the most troubling of all: a pitiful 1 of 7 in aerial duels.

He was dominated in the midfield by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who caught Fellaini ball-watching and scored the equalizer as the Belgian failed miserably to follow his mark.

For a player standing at 6’4″ and known for his prowess in the air, those striking numbers are just one sheet in his manilla folder which reveals a season-long struggle. According to WhoScored statistics, Fellaini averaged 6.3 aerial duels won per Premier League match last season with Everton. This year at Manchester United? Nearly half that, at 3.3.

This all follows a season where Fellaini scored 11 Premier League goals at Everton under Moyes and assisted six more.

Another striking number is his yellow cards. A physical midfielder such as Fellaini is bound to receive the occasional yellow or two, it’s just part of the game. However, this season, after earning himself nine last year in a stellar last season at Goodison, Fellaini has just one yellow in 14 Premier League appearances, lending itself to a lack of physical play.

Moyes lets Fellaini off the hook by giving his midfielder the same excuse he provides himself, “It’s not an easy move coming to Manchester United, as I can tell you,” Moyes told English media. “For Marouane, I think it’s proved equally as difficult.”

That’s just about the worst made-up excuse imaginable. Hopefully he can start to cope with “difficult” situations given his signature for one of the largest clubs in the world. And his performance on the pitch hasn’t backed up his manager’s faith. It’s time to find a different option.

Rashford’s childhood hero played for USMNT (Take one guess)

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But can he grow a beard?

Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford is known for his darting runs and clever finishes, but he grew up begging to get between the sticks with a lot of love for an American.

“Howard was my idol. I used to have a little Tim Howard shirt.”

[ MORE: Dempsey still wants USMNT role ]

Rashford said he’d ask his youth coach to allow him to play goal so he could mimic his hero, who at the time was the Manchester United backstop and now USMNT legend.

The 20-year-old was nine when Howard left Old Trafford, but it hasn’t changed his enjoyment for tending goal. Rashford joked that he’s got to be the choice to replace David De Gea in case of a post-sub emergency.

Watch Live: Watford vs. West Ham United

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David Moyes‘ first match in charge of West Ham United sees a striker change at Vicarage Road against testy Watford (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Andy Carroll will be up top, and Andre Ayew is hurt to boot.

Marco Silva leads Watford’s hosts with Adrian Mariappa, Christian Kabasele, and Miguel Britos at the back of a 3-5-2.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenía, Cleverley, Doucouré, Zeegelaar; Hughes, Richarlison; Gray. Subs: Karnezis, Prödl, Holebas, Capoue, Pereyra, Carrillo, Okaka.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Obiang, Arnautovic, Lanzini, Carroll. Subs: Adrian, Masuaku, Rice, Fernandes, Quina, Sakho, Martinez.

Dempsey still happy to accept USMNT role (which is good)

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Clint Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals in USMNT history, and seems set to continue with the side in some capacity as he threatens to stand alone in American history.

[ MLS: Steve Bruce to Miami? ]

The 34-year-old striker spoke with Steve Zakuani on the Sounders’ web site (video below) and said he’s happy to accept continued call-ups should they arrive from USSF headquarters.

From SoundersFC.com:

“We’ll see what happens,” Dempsey said.” I mean, in terms of what I’ve been able to accomplish with the national team, I’m at peace with it. It’s not really about me. It’s about a group of guys that want to be moving forward.

“If there’s an opportunity that comes where you get to play a role and try to help and I’m feeling good and I’m playing well, then yeah, you’ll never say no. But you know, if the call never comes I’m still happy, still at peace, and focused on being here and trying to make the most of the time I have left.”

There are a number of players whose national team futures should be in question, but Dempsey is in a different class. No one has debated his motor or fuel, and his engine is still there (to complete the Springsteen-esque car comparisons, he remains one of the only things that qualifiers as chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line).

If anything, he plays too close to the edge. That’s not something I see as one of the Yanks’ problems right now, so perhaps Dempsey needs to be viewed like Cuauhtemoc Blanco or Carlos Ruiz as a CONCACAF guy who’s around as long as he wants to be a part of it.

I mean, shoot, if Dempsey wants to keep passing the fire to Christian Pulisic and now Weston McKennie, there are far worse ambassadors for the program. He’s the most accomplished field player in recent history, and will be able to share so much when it comes to balancing club and country.

Heck, maybe he needs to be the late era Ryan Giggs of the 2018-2022 USMNT.

Beckham reportedly wants Steve Bruce in Miami

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He’s got the same initials as South Beach, you know?

Steve Bruce is being tipped to be the first manager of David Beckham’s Miami MLS outfit, according to The Sun.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]

It’s going to be some time before Bruce would have the opportunity. The 56-year-old former Manchester United star has Aston Villa in a Football League Championship promotion push, and Miami does not even have a start date for life on an MLS pitch.

Of course, managerial life tends to be short, so there’s no guarantee Bruce will have a job at any point during the build-up to Miami in MLS. And several expansion clubs have named their coach very early in the team building process (Jason Kreis and Bob Bradley amongst others).

Bruce on MLS’ parity-driven playing field, if not as one of the big spenders, would be intriguing to watch. He’s a terrific man motivator and has the connections to combine with Beckham to make something special happen in terms of personnel.