David Moyes' most important game at Manchester United since the last one beckons

Manchester United have mostly had the same weaknesses and strengths all season, but could David Moyes finally have figured out how to maximise the latter and minimise the former?

Mostly this season we've been let down and carried by the same people.

We've been let down by Michael Carrick playing in midfield, who has had a truly wretched season. We've been let down by Patrice Evra's continued shakiness at the back. Nemanja Vidic appears to have completely gone in the head and legs. Rio Ferdinand and Robin van Persie have veered wildly between every level of performance possible depending on whether they can be bothered that afternoon. Antonio Valencia appears to have lost his way forever, and Tom Cleverley is rubbish.

The list of heroes has been just as familiar. Rafael has been excellent. David de Gea has quietly saved us on a number of occasions. Wayne Rooney continues to score important goals at important times. Adnan Januzaj has been a revelation, Jonny Evans has been solid when fit, and Danny Welbeck has excelled.

What does this mean against City? Well, the usual balance is that the liabilities outweigh the tree-pullers and we sink to a defeat. This may be different - Rio Ferdinand and/or Robin van Persie may actually be up for it. Marouane Fellaini's good recent form might continue. Michael Carrick may be put in defence where he can do less damage. On these hopes, victory probably rests.

Nobody would deny that the squad needs an overhaul, but there's some pretty fierce debate over whether David Moyes is the right man to carry that out. But while it's been a poor season, there's nothing to suggest he will be poor in the transfer market. He appears to have identified the right areas to improve, at least, which is an upgrade on Alex Ferguson in at least one way. The fact that United were impressed by his overhaul of the scouting system also suggests he may well know what he's talking about. And primarily, so will something that has bizarrely annoyed many United fans from the start - the transfer targets.

Barely a transfer post has gone by without hordes of Reds cursing "unrealistic" targets, as though Manchester United are Oldham or a team which has no history of buying expensive players at the top of their game. Instead, we should be pleased with the ambition shown. Glazer purse-strings play a huge part, of course, but if Moyes had targeted some of the players Ferguson had in recent years - Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, et al - there would be an insurrection.

Juan Mata was an 'unrealistic' target to the same people. Moyes would appear to be in a very good position to carry out that squad overhaul, with the sole exception that if he's thinking of replacing Rafael with Seamus Coleman then he's about as close to 'getting' Manchester United as John Terry is to 'getting' intersectional feminism and can do one with the utmost haste. Ambition is what we should be showing after the meagre years of buying stop-gaps, round pegs in square holes and you'll-dos.

The real question instead is whether Moyes should be the one allowed to lead them into battle. Today is one of many opportunities to pull off such a performance to suggest that he ought to be. Ignore the performances and attitude from those likely to be out of the door - they don't matter. But instead focus on how those who are actually going to be a part of our next side are playing, and whether Moyes looks like being able to use them and inspire them. Almost a whole season in, we still can't be completely sure one way or the other.

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