LIST: The worst moments of David Moyes’ tenure at Manchester United

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David Moyes is out at Manchester United after less than a year. How did we get here?

There were plenty of off-field issues, as the Red Devils brass absolutely bungled the summer transfer window in landing just Marouane Fellaini before striking a strong note in January with Juan Mata. United looked dreadful in defense all year, a mix of subpar players and men unfit to contend with top attacks.

And the injuries were plentiful! Many wondered how Sir Alex Ferguson was able to win the league with essentially the same roster, but a simple look at the Premier League statistics says a lot about the why and how. From weeks 17-22, United was missing Robin van Persie, Nani and Fellaini. For two of those matches, they didn’t have Wayne Rooney either.

Plus:
Robin van Persie — 38 games last season, 18 this season
Michael Carrick — 36 games last season, 25 this season

But how about the matches themselves? Here are our top five contests that turned #MoyesOut from a hashtag to a happening:

Sep. 22 – @Manchester City 4, Manchester United 1 — Yes, the Citizens were humming early, but on the heels of a 1-0 loss to Liverpool and 0-0 draw with Chelsea, this is the one that started to turn the doubters into haters. It was United’s worst defeat at the Etihad Stadium in nearly a decade, and Rooney only rescued a goal with mere minutes to spare. They were outplayed dramatically, and the city was blue.

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Sep. 28 – West Bromwich Albion 2, @Manchester United 1 —
This one took Moyes believers and gave them serious doubts. The Baggies posted their first win at Old Trafford since 1978 in a match that foreshadowed several other historical happenings at home… and not the good kind.source: Getty Images

Dec. 4 – Everton 1, @Manchester United 0
Dec. 7 – Newcastle United 1, @Manchester United 0
Twice blanked at home by clubs that had known Old Trafford as a house of horrors. The fortress walls were down, and Everton burst through for the first time since 1992 behind Bryan Oviedo’s 86th minute tally. Making it worse was knowing that Moyes had left this Everton team to come to Manchester, while his replacement cued the dismissal of the ghosts. A few days later, it was Yohan Cabaye’s turn to run roughshod over the Red Devils. Newcastle carried possession and the day as it ended a 41-year wait for a win at Old Trafford. Forty-one years. No joke.

source:  Jan. 22 – @Manchester United 2, Sunderland 1 (3-3 on aggregate; Sunderland advances on penalties, 2-1)
Again at Old Trafford, but this time it was an embarrassing exit from the League Cup semifinals with a simply brutal bout of penalties. Three days after a loss at Chelsea, Moyes’ charges could not redeem themselves to set up an all-Manchester Cup final. Phil Bardsley had looked to have sprung a 119th-minute trap for United, but Chicharito came to the rescue in ultra “Fergie Time” fashion… only for Moyes! The Mexican striker scored at 120+1′ to move the event to kicks, where the Red Devils and Black Cats both looked like they were penning a childrens book entitled “Our First Penalties.” Darren Fletcher was the only Manchester United player to convert as Danny Welbeck, Adnan Januzaj, Phil Jones (!!) and Rafael all missed.

Worth noting: this was in the stretch where the club was missing Rooney, van Persie, Fellaini and Nani.

VIDEO: Where David Moyes went wrong at Manchester United

March 16 – Liverpool 3, @Manchester United 0
March 25 – Manchester City 3, @Manchester United 0
Losing at home is one thing. Getting absolutely hammered by your biggest rivals during a crucial time for European qualification is another. The wheels were off, and it couldn’t get worse.

Only it did.

April 20 – @Everton 2, Manchester United 0 — Moyes had 11 days to prepare his charges for their first game since being run out of Europe by Bayern Munich, and there was nothing there. The Red Devils hierarchy could only watch and listen as the Goodison Park faithful booed their former boss while cheering his replacement to a resounding victory. One fan seated behind the dugout took a turn as the Grim Reaper in a monumentally-brutal form of former team torture. The writing was on the wall, sheets, banners and sky: Moyes’ time was running out.

And Tuesday morning, it was gone.

Manchester United: Solskjaer hopeful of new Paul Pogba contract

Paul Pogba contract
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is singing a new tune, hopeful that star midfielder Paul Pogba will stick around Old Trafford for the long term.

Reports say that United has an option to extend Pogba’s contract by an extra year beyond its 2021 expiry, but Solskjaer is thinking bigger. He has been praising Pogba plenty since the World Cup winner returned to the lineup.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

It’s a bit surprising given Pogba and his super agent’s constant time in the rumor mill, with Real Madrid often linked with the Frenchman. And that agent, Mino Raiola, has not been so nice when it comes to judging Solskjaer.

But Solskjaer is reportedly hopeful that Pogba can join Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and others in building a new power.

“I can’t comment on discussions between player and the club but. of course, we want to keep the best players around the club,” Solskjaer said. “We want to build a squad for the future and Scott and Nemanja are a similar position but at different stages in their careers. One at the start, one really experienced one.”

Pogba leads United in key passes per game with 2.3, though his minutes have been severely limited by injuries this season. He had 13 goals and nine assists last season, and turned 27 in March.

The way United’s performed in recent weeks it would not be a surprise if keeping its main talents while adding another stalwart center back and wing would propel it into a more serious table discussion.

Do you buy the idea that Pogba could be with United well into the future?

Suarez goal gives Barcelona win, relegates neighbors Espanyol

Espanyol relegated
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Seventh-place one season ago, La Liga mainstays Espanyol are being relegated from Spain’s top flight.

The final decision came at the hands of their Catalan neighbors Barcelona, who got a second-half goal from Luis Suarez to relegate Espanyol.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Espanyol are 11 points back of 17th place and can only capture nine more points this season following the 1-0 loss in a match where both teams had a player sent off.

Suarez’s goal was a nice one after Antoine Griezmann’s back heel pass to Lionel Messi saw the Argentine’s shot deflect onto the path of the Uruguayan finisher.

Espanyol had been in the top flight since 1994 and has only spent four single seasons outside La Liga since 1929. Leganes and Mallorca may join them soon.

Barcelona moves a point back of Real Madrid. Real has four matches left to Barca’s three and holds the tiebreaker.

Klopp reacts to Liverpool wins, says Henderson injury ‘not nothing’

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Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion was a bit more what we’re used to from the Premier League champions.

But that wasn’t the focus of the post-match despite a highlight-reel show from Mohamed Salah, as Reds boss Jurgen Klopp sounded an ominous note when asked about Jordan Henderson leaving the match with injury.

“I don’t know exactly but it was something with the knee I think. We know it’s not nothing.”

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Henderson’s not exactly a player to hit the deck unless he’s feeling pain, and Klopp removed him for James Milner with 10 minutes to play.

That’s about the only bad news from the win, as Liverpool became the first team this season to breach the 90-point mark and saw Salah’s brace move him within three goals of the Golden Boot lead.

Salah would only say, “Let’s take it game-by-game,” but it’s clearly on his mind.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says the Egyptian is hungry to get a share of a third-straight Golden Boot.

From the BBC:

“He has his targets, he’s around the Golden Boot and it’s something he wants to retain,” Alexander-Arnold said. “He’s a world class player who scores so many goals for us and we try to get him on the board as much as possible.”

As for the match, Brighton almost as missed some big chances as Liverpool before the game was out of reach. Klopp admits that it was a challenge.

“We started really well,” Klopp said. “We had to adapt a little bit as we knew what they wanted to do but it was a little bit hard to defend. We left one or two players in a position where if we won the ball we had players in the counter-attack position. We got the first two goals with super balls but we could have scored more. I said to the boys at half-time they could have been 2-2 too. It was a nice game to watch.”

The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.

Liverpool march continues with 3-1 win at Brighton

Brighton - Liverpool recap
Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Mohamed Salah had two goals and an assist in the first eight minutes of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday.

Salah is now three goals behind league leader Jamie Vardy, and Liverpool’s 92 points are 23 more than Man City. Jordan Henderson also scored for the Reds.

BRIGHTON – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Leandro Trossard scored for Brighton, whose 36 points are nine clear of the bottom three with four matches to play (The 18th and 19th place sides do have a match each in hand).

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Liverpool’s 30 wins through 34 outings is a Premier League record and Jurgen Klopp’s men are chasing several PL records. The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.


Three things we learned

1. Salah somehow under the radar: Look, the Egyptian star’s 32-goal league season was an outlier. Not a lot of guys consistently hit 25, let alone the 30 mark in the Premier League. But Salah has rather quietly put together another amazing season with 19 goals and nine assists in PL play plus another four and three in cup competitions. Salah is one assist of joining the a small group of players to get double digit league goals and assists in a top five European league this season.

While it’s become sexy to praise Sadio Mane as the Reds’ top winger, Salah has been just as good. He could’ve had another goal in the 53rd but Mat Ryan made a fine intervention at close range. If Salah is under the radar, it’s because Liverpool has spread the wealth this season and had so many heroes in close matches. But boy, oh boy, is he their best weapon.

2. Lamptey shows glimpses, then youth: The sample size is very small, but 19-year-old Chelsea outcast Tariq Lamptey has played well at right back in most of his outings for Brighton since the return from the coronavirus pause. Lamptey was at blame for Liverpool’s third goal in both the chance conceded and actual finish from Salah, but the $4 million January buy looked well worth the price tag in a terrific first half at the Amex.

3. Seagulls still missing final ball: Brighton produced four big chances in the game to Liverpool’s two, but only put one in the back of the net (SofaScore). That’s sadly been par for the course this season, as Brighton’s style has been worthy of a top half place. Brighton entered the day with seven fewer goals than its expected goals total. Only Everton, Watford, and Norwich have been less fortunate.

Man of the Match:

Salah.


Brighton – Liverpool recap

Salah had a goal and an assist within 500 seconds of kickoff.

The Egyptian took a feed from Naby Keita to score off a Davy Propper giveaway and then set up Henderson’s second to have the Seagulls’ heads spinning early.

Brighton found a chance in the 19th but Neco Williams recovered with a slide to block Leandro Trossard from slotting a point-blank goal.

The Seagulls pulled within one just before halftime when in-form youngster Tariq Lamptey swept a cross into the mix for Trossard to punch home.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Salah could’ve had it 3-1 at one end but Brighton’s Dan Burn asked the Egyptian to hold his drink with a butchered wide-open shot at the back post in the 60th minute.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t like the close score, and brought on Fabinho, Andy Robertson, and Sadio Mane in the second half. One of the players he removed, Naby Keita, had a strong hour before departing the contest.

Henderson almost produced a third Liverpool goal after a rare Lamptey error spring a chance that took a wicked turn off Dale Stephens.

The Reds made it 3-1 off the ensuing corner, Salah’s clinical header in front of Lamptey. Henderson limped off for Liverpool late in the contest.

Ryan denied Salah a hat trick in stoppage time and the Egyptian headed over the bar at the final whistle. He could’ve had five.