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Opinion Piece

Moyes’ momentum gathering pace

187578174After a poor start to the season, Manchester United have seemingly started to pick up some momentum, winning three league games in a row and going nine games unbeaten in all competitions, as David Moyes looks to have finally found his feet at Old Trafford.

Sunday’s 1-0 win against league leaders Arsenal put United within five points of the North Londoners and only a point behind Chelsea, while despite losing 4-1 to Manchester City in September, the Reds are now a point ahead of their big spending neighbours, whose shaky form away from home shows no signs of improving.

Having endured their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign, United entered Sunday’s clash with Arsenal knowing that a defeat would see them slip 11 points behind Arsenal, thus all but ending their hopes of defending the title.

David Moyes’ arrival and a demanding run of games in the opening month saw United getting out of the blocks in lethargic fashion, with the Reds winning only two of their opening five games, an incredibly slow start even for a time like United which, in years gone by, have become accustomed to solid, but not explosive, starts.

There are, however, plenty of reasons to be optimistic, as Moyes’ teams have always got off to slow starts, before powering home in the second half of the season.

During four of his last five seasons at Everton, Moyes never registered more than four wins in the opening 11 games, with the Toffees failing to pick up more than 15 points in each of those occasions, the seventh place they found themselves in in the 2008-09 season, the highest position they achieved at this stage of the season.

However, Everton seemed to kick on from January onward, picking up more points than any other Premier League club in the final 11 games of the season, as Moyes’ men surged up the table, while other teams toiled away crippled by post-Christmas exhaustion.

Last season Everton suffered a slump in form midway through the season after a surprisingly positive start, before picking up their form yet again to secure six wins and three draws in the last 11 matches meaning that David Moyes has lost only eight times in the combined 55 (the last 11 games of each campaign) end of the season matches over the last five seasons.

Everton’s superb form from January onwards has often been attributed to Moyes’ gruelling training regimes, which might cost his teams a few points but ensures a strong second half of the campaign, and many United players have admitted being surprise by the fitness standard demanded by their new manager.

Obviously at Everton Moyes could concentrate on the Premier League without the distraction of European football, but he has a bigger squad at his disposal at United and with the January transfer window still to come, a strong second half to David Moyes’ first campaign at Old Trafford could be on the cards.