Written by Liam Ray

Moyes’s misery continues, Sunderland lose again and Townsend’s tumultuous week finishes on a high.


United drop points yet again

Mauricio Pochettino did admit after his sides’ valiant 1-1 draw at Old Trafford: “It was strange for me to come to Old Trafford and not see Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout.” Perhaps his words speak on behalf of many other managers in the Premier League: teams just do not fear Manchester United as they used to.

Under the old regime, it would have been incomprehensible for a United side to concede a late goal against Southampton and then take the long walk to the home dressing room to face the Fergie hairdryer.

It’s been a stuttering start for United under Moyes. Of course, the new setup will take time to get used to but it’s unclear whether the former Everton manager can rebuild the fear factor that Manchester United once posed to clubs when Ferguson was in charge. Teams like West Brom and Southampton have both come away from Manchester with impressive results whilst adopting a ruthless attacking approach.

In seasons gone by, clubs like these would have rolled over and sat back, trying to nick a point. But with a new, unproven manager at the level of the champions, most clubs feel that this Manchester United side is vulnerable.

Townsend’s faultless week

It’s been a near perfect week for Andros Townsend. I think even he would have needed to pinch himself after a week which has seen him score and help England to the World Cup, find the net and receive the man of the match award in Tottenham’s’ win over Aston Villa and be awarded with a new 4 year contract.

It would take many a professional footballer to tell you about a more impressive week but it’s important that he keeps his feet firmly on the ground. Much talk will be generated every time he now steps onto a football pitch and the pressure on his shoulders will be immense.

However, Townsend showed us all that there is one thing he doesn’t have is fear. Every time the ball was fed into the hungry winger during the international period, there was one thing on his mind. He attacked defences at every opportunity and reaped the rewards of having a positive mind-set with a goal against Montenegro and an imperious display against Poland that has handed him the reputation of being one of England’s brightest young talents. And that’s why he should have already booked his place on the flight to Brazil next year.

No beginners luck for Poyet

Meanwhile, in the North East, it’s a case of new manager but same old story for Sunderland. Their second half capitulation in South Wales has brought the players’ mentalities into question and asks whether the individuals that previous manager Paolo Di Canio signed genuinely have the desire to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

There’s no doubting the quality of several of Sunderland’s players; most notably Giaccherini, Larsson, Johnson, Fletcher – the list is endless. All have proved that they have what it takes to perform at this level whether it’s with club or country and I strongly believe that Sunderland can pull out of the mess that they are currently in.

However, Poyet needs to act fast to truly recognise his best eleven. With just one point from an available 24, he will need to gather his best resources quickly and plot a tough fight against relegation.