Moyes must stick to his best 11

Have Manchester United lost their fear factor?

Manager David Moyes insists that Sir Alex Ferguson's exit has not resulted in United's poor run of form.

"The fear comes from the team on the pitch," said Moyes, after the 1-1 draw with Southampton last Saturday.

"Obviously Sir Alex Ferguson has a great history and his experience will always work in charge of any team.

"But the players have always been the people who have to turn out and do it."

However, results don't lie.

The draw against Southampton meant the Red Devils have won just one of their four league games at the Theatre of Dreams this season.

I don't think the defending champions have lost the fear factor permanently, but they would need a decent run of results to get the aura of invincibility back.

To do that, Moyes needs to stick with a more settled first 11 - the United manager has not named the same starting line-up for consecutive games in all competitions this season.

He has also used 25 players this term.

Rotation is part and parcel of the modern game, but when you need the results, you need familiarity and quality on the field.

To get the results, Moyes must go back to basics and choose his strongest players. So, what's his best line-up?

Assuming all the players are fit, I would go with David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Phil Jones and Patrice Evra in defence; we all know about the overlapping abilities of Rafael and Evra.

In front of them, I would put Michael Carrick and Shinji Kagawa in the middle of midfield, the latter for his creative input.

Up front, Adnan Januzaj (on the left) and Antonio Valenica (right) would patrol the flanks, with Wayne Rooney in the No. 10 role supporting main striker Robin van Persie.

Moyes seems to prefer the midfield pairing of Carrick and Marouane Fellaini, but their incompatibility playing together could be why United's defence looks vulnerable.

I don't think Fellaini is suited for the defensive midfield role - he doesn't have the legs for it and moreover, he used to play in a more attacking role under Moyes at Everton.

But it is a role that is too similar to that of Rooney at United and it seems that Moyes is still trying to find a way to fit his expensive signing into the line-up.


There is a lack of creativity in this team, and United must be kicking themselves to see Mesut Oezil prospering at Arsenal now. His creativity and attacking impetus are what the Red Devils are sorely lacking right now.

United's weak central midfield invites teams to attack them, which was what Southampton did last Saturday.

Some may criticise Moyes for taking Rooney off for Chris Smalling in the dying minutes of the game, but it's a tactic managers would use to protect their lead.

Moyes may even have an eye on the midweek Champions League game at home against Real Sociedad.

That said, United in eighth place is unacceptable and Moyes will need to find some balance and results soon to arrest the slide.

Sticking to his best 11 would be a good start.

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