He needs to know United's best XI

SINGAPORE- Under David Moyes, Manchester United have lost their aura of invincibility.

Where visiting teams would once enter the Theatre of Dreams with trepidation, they now enter the ground smelling blood.

West Brom, Everton and Newcastle have all snapped 35-, 21-, and 41-year winless streaks respectively at Old Trafford this season.

While I believe that Moyes is still the right man to lead the Red Devils in the long run, he needs to get his act together - fast.

For a start, the Scot needs to figure out his best XI. He has not fielded the same starting line-up in the Premier League this season.

Over the 15 games played this season, he has made an average of 3.5 changes to the starting line-up per match.

In contrast, league leaders Arsenal have fielded the same line-up thrice.

Manager Arsene Wenger has made an average of only 1.8 changes to his starting line-up per game over the same period.

Stability is key to winning championships and that is exactly what United lack right now. This chopping and changing will only damage the players' morale.

As a player, not knowing what role you will play in the next game can affect your preparation and focus before match days.

When there's a regular starting XI, players can build partnerships and get used to each other's style.

For example, Adnan Januzaj was one of United's best players in October, scoring two goals in three matches. But since his hot streak that month, the 18-year-old Belgium wunderkind has had only three starts in five matches. Likewise, the 5-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen was regarded as one of Moyes' greatest moments, yet in their next match against Tottenham, Moyes made three changes.

The match ended 2-2, with United by far the poorer side.

You can see the impact of this uncertainty playing out on the pitch. The players look apprehensive, their movement is uncoordinated and they are all over the pitch.

It is painful to watch.

All this is bound to lead to talk of dressing-room unrest. Robin van Persie is the latest star rumoured to be unhappy with Moyes, and I can tell you there is no smoke without fire.

I expect United to lose a few more matches before the turn of the year, although next month's transfer window will provide a chance for Moyes to add some much-needed creativity to his midfield.

His signing of Marouane Fellaini, who started against Everton but failed to even make the bench for the next match against Newcastle, has been an abject failure.

There is no creativity in midfield and United are getting by only because of van Persie and Wayne Rooney's striking prowess. A creative midfielder with the ability to split defences and dictate the game's tempo should be high on Moyes' wish-list.

Even then, it will require a Herculean effort for the Red Devils to finish in the top four.


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.