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rice remained winless in his care

  • It hit me this week. Joakim Nordstrom Jersey . There it was staring at me in the form of a magazine advert for posters. Placed together as portraits were drawings of four high-profile football managers but one made me do a double take. It wasnt long ago that the face of David Moyes, placed next to Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger, would not have made me think twice. I have always hoped he would succeed, back to the days when I covered him as a manager of Preston North End. Yet, heading into Wednesdays crucial game against Olympiakos, it was easy to look at him differently after what has taken place under his watch at Manchester United this season. I am not a United fan but when I visited Old Trafford for their clash with Chelsea in August I was pleased that he had been given a chance. "The Chosen One" sign hung proudly in the famous Stretford End and the United fans sung songs with his name in them and mocked the manager in the opposing dugout. "You wanted the job...you wanted the job...Jose Mourinho...you wanted the job!" Seven months on and the joke has turned on them. Oh how they must wish for Mourinho to be in charge of Manchester United today. The same amount of home league wins as Crystal Palace. Fewer home league goals than Stoke, Swansea and West Ham. More than twice as many league losses than Chelsea. "This has been a difficult season," admitted Moyes in his programme notes for Wednesdays home match against Olympiakos in the second leg of their last 16 encounter in the crown jewel of club football, the Champions League. The official matchday programme had a message for fans before they even opened it saying, on the front cover, the Reds are determined to give everything. Inside the desperation reached new heights with a message from Moyes telling the fans to "make time wasting noticeable to the officials." It all felt a little forced. Defensive, in fact. From a team full of stars who have underperformed this season, the one message they wanted to make sure they got across was that they would give it everything. Manchester United expect more than effort but on a day when it felt like their managers job was seriously on the line, this was the message they were given. It was a night when more than a managers job seemed in jeopardy. A club who this season have badly lost their identity, were in danger of losing their place amongst the sports elite. On Wednesday night they claimed back a little bit of both. Before Robin van Persie scored a terrific hat-trick, United were in danger of falling from the balcony hosting the greatest clubs in the world and hanging on by their finger nails. Their position, outside the room, is not exclusively David Moyes fault but an elimination on Wednesday would have certainly played a massive part in the eventual sacking of the manager, whether that would have been this week or in the summer. The truth is United dont think they should be on the balcony, instead they think they should be inside hosting the party, but a home win against Olympiakos wont get them back in. What it does give them is two more games to show if they can once again be back where they belong as well as a victory that this club badly needed, not just for Moyes, but for themselves. To understand Uniteds demise at the elite level it is important to look at their performances in the true big games. No United team should be judged on past victories over any team out of the top 7 of the Premier League. For the purpose of this study, I looked at all of Manchester Uniteds matches in the last six seasons against Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham and their games in Europe, whether it be in the Champions League, Europa League or the European Super Cup. Over the last three seasons (2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14) United have now played 66 of these big game matches. They have won 28, drew 15 and lost 23 for a very disappointing win percentage of 42 per cent. They have been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage and the last 16 in the last two seasons. In the three seasons prior to this stretch (2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11), United played 70 big game matches. They won 45, drew 18 and lost 17 for a very impressive win percentage of 64 per cent. During this time they went to the Champions League final TWICE and lost in the quarter-finals on away goals to a team called Bayern Munich. The alarm bells should have been sounded during Sir Alex Fergusons penultimate year in charge when United were well and truly outplayed at Old Trafford in Europe by Benfica, Basel, Ajax and Atletico Bilbao. Likely, this was when Ferguson knew his time to retire was coming soon. He no longer belonged in the room at the top table with the sports best clubs. A collapse in April in two more big game matches, 4-4 at home to Everton and 1-0 at Manchester City, gave away the title and Ferguson returned for one more year but the big game cracks continued to show. The four previous seasons United had lost 24 big game matches combined – an average of 6 losses per season. Despite cruising to the Premier League title last season, United lost nine big game matches in 2012/13. Yes, they were Premier League champions but against the best sides they looked desperately short of genuine world class players. Alarmingly, in the last 14 months, heading into Wednesdays match, they had played 27 of these matches and won just seven of them. This is where the intense pressure fell on Moyes. This season, before Wednesday, in 18 of these games, his United team have scored more than one goal in a game only three times. No wins in four games against Chelsea and Tottenham. One goal, from a set piece, in two matches against Arsenal. A loss at home to Everton and away at Manchester City and, above everything else, two losses to rivals Liverpool who absolutely demolished United at Old Trafford on Sunday. All of these results, and specifically the performances, stayed with Moyes like bruises on the face of a prize fighter and with every new failure in a big game his loyal supporters started to doubt him more. Moyes wasnt just on the ropes on Wednesday night. He was on the floor facing a count to 10. Thats what makes the victory over Olympiakos so enormous. It is arguably the biggest victory in the career of Moyes. A victory that proves to himself, his bosses and his players that he can take charge of a significant victory in a big game. A loss would have capped off a nightmare season for United and the only way the club could have hung on to that balcony will have been to fire Moyes and blame him for their season. Players care about three things. Money, trophies, and playing at the highest level. It is essential that Manchester United are always able to offer that. If they had been knocked out on Wednesday they will have only had money in their hands to offer players who will have been worried to play for Moyes. Yes, the 3-0 victory saved Moyes but it also saved United who have been treading water in big games for far too long. It is clear star players need to come in to improve their record in those games but, perhaps, a star manager does not. Wednesdays win is only one game but for Moyes it can help change perceptions that, perhaps, he belongs amongst the games best managers without anyone looking at him twice. James Wisniewski Jersey .  Almost 40 years to the day, the two teams will meet again, this time at BC Place, to celebrate the past and try to earn important points for the present. Jordan Staal Jersey . Some members of the U.S. Congress arent so sure. They say Russia isnt doing enough to assure that athletes will be protected at the Feb. 7-23 games, happening not far from an Islamic insurgency that Russias huge security apparatus has struggled for two decades to quell. Russia may run greater risks in towns outside the tightly controlled Olympic zone. Suicide bombs last month a few hundred kilometres (miles) away have increased concerns, and an Islamic warlord has urged his followers to attack the Sochi Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putins pet project.NASHVILLE - Daniel Briere and the Montreal Canadiens hope to put their offensive struggles to rest on Saturday night when they resume their road trip against the Nashville Predators. You can also listen to the game live on TSN 690 Montreal at 7pm et/4pm pt. The Habs have lost four of their past six games and opened up a six-game swing with Thursdays 5-1 setback to the St. Louis Blues. Briere returns after sitting out Thursdays loss as a healthy scratch. Brendan Gallagher scored his first goal in 12 games, giving him 10 on the season, and Carey Price allowed five scores on 29 shots faced. The setback marked the fifth time in Montreals past six games it has scored one goal or fewer. "Were making simple mistakes that we shouldnt be making," said Montreal winger Brian Gionta. "Were not supporting each other. Were not backing each other up and ... thats just not the way we need to be playing." Montreals offense also failed to come through in an earlier meeting with Nashville, which picked up a 2-1 road victory back on Oct. 19. Gallagher had the lone goal on that day and the Habs wasted Prices 35 saves. Price remained winless in his career versus the Predators despite the solid outing, falling to 0-3-0 with a 2. Custom Carolina Hurricanes Jerseys. 35 goals against average in three meetings. Nashville, which got goals from defensemen Seth Jones and Shea Weber, is 3-0-1 in its past four versus Montreal and 3-1-2 with a tie all-time against the franchise at home. The Preds will try to bounce back from their seventh loss in 10 games, a 4-2 setback at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Craig Smith scored twice for Nashville, with each tally making it a one-goal game, but Tampa Bay responded with a goal shortly after both times. "They took some momentum away by scoring just after we did," Smith said. "They are a good team, but so are we. They can do some good things and so can we. They came out on top tonight and converted their chances." Carter Hutton allowed four goals on just 14 shots before he was pulled in favor of Marek Mazanec in the second period. Mazanec made 19 saves in the setback. Neither Hutton or Mazanec have ever faced the Canadiens. Injured goaltender Pekka Rinne made 28 saves in the first meeting of the season. 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