Is Louis Van Gaal The Right Man To Take United Forward?

Louis van Gaal

Following in the footsteps of the most successful manager in football history was always going to be a challenge, a challenge that proved too much for previous manager David Moyes. After what United fans could only describe as one of the most disastrous seasons the club and its loyal fans had ever witnessed, we turned our hopes of a successful revival to World Cup stand out Louis Van Gaal.

Louis Van Gaal boasted an impressive CV , winning silverware with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich before starting his tenure as first team coach of The Netherlands. The majority of our fans were all full of optimism and excitement when it was announced that he would be taking charge of the club. Hollands brilliant display in the World Cup, accompanied by the clear love and support of Manchester United players Robin Van Persie (Which was evident in the high five following Van Persie’s excellent diving header against Spain) got all of us very excited. The incredible unbeaten run in pre-season furthered our optimism and got us all itching for the new season to begin.

Fans were on cloud nine after the Summer acquisitions of world class players such as Angel Di Maria , Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, and fans favourite Ander Herrera. Finally we had the players we’d been screaming out for all summer. Fielding one of the most expensive teams in football history , the pressure was on Louis Van Gaal to bring glory back to Old Trafford.

His first season resulted in finishing in 4th place and champions league football was returning to Old Trafford once again. We knew it was going to be hard to recover mentally from the horror shows of the Moyes era and Despite not finishing as high as we’d hoped, fans were content with the fact we’d once again clinched champions league football and were prepared to back Louis Van Gaal for the 2015/2016 campaign. Disappointments came in the form of lethargic and under performing Angel Di Maria and January deadline day loan signing Radamel Falcao . Despite an impressive start Angel Di Maria failed to impress fans with his lacklustre and unpassionate performances and was swiftly sold to Ligué one front runners PSG. Rademel falcao was a fans favourite to start with, the roars of El Tigre resonating around the Stretford End will be something that long lives in the memory of Manchester United fans, however what will not live in the memory is his woeful demise from World Class striker to an extremely poor one. The decision to not sign him on a permanent basis wasn’t a shocking one.

Louis Van Gaal will have been very pleased with his summer signings and more so with a string of impressive results at the start of this season, Wins against Tottenham, Aston Villa and a 7-1 aggregate thrashing of Club Brugge in the Champions League left united fans with a positive approach to the remainder on the season. The deadline day signing of Anthony Martial raised a few question marks over the Louis Van Gaal’s spending. 36million pounds on an unproven 19 year old seemed ridiculous. Fans doubts were quickly diminished after an incredible solo goal against Liverpool put Man United fans and commentator Martin Tyler into a state of pure astonishment. Martial was one of a few united summer signings along with Dutchman Memphis Depay, World Cup winner Bastian Schweinstiger, Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneidlerlin, Italian fullback Mattieo Darmian and goalkeeper Sergio Romero. Another string of good results left United battling for top spot and fans were excited for the coming fixtures. As the season hit October the problems began to start for Louis Van Gaal. After a horror tackle left Luke Shaw with a double fracture of the leg, Manchester United were without an experienced left back, Reece James had been transferred to Wigan and we had to rely/still are relying on cover from either Ashley Young, Darmian and more recently Cameron Borthwick Jackson. The problems accelerated thick and fast after that as Manchester United’s Champions League dream was abruptly ended by a defeat to Wolfsburg and a string of losses followed by an exit from the league cup in the 4th round to Championship side Middlesbrough accompanied by 0-0 draws began to make the fans restless.

Is Louis van Gaal To Blame?

I am with a lot of other Manchester United fans when they complain about how the quality of football has deteriorated and that we’ve become boring to watch. Its become painful to view and is slowly turning the club into a laughing stock. But the key question here is, is this Van Gaals fault? I was extremely happy when we had signed Memphis Depay, a goal scoring pacey winger is just what we needed. This season has proved difficult for Memphis, there were indications that we had signed the player we had seen at PSV when he scored the impressive brace in the Champions League, but apart from that he hasn’t contributed to the team a huge amount. With the odd assist and goal here and there he lands himself in the increasingly large pile of disappointing signings. Another disappointment this season has been Wayne Rooney. Fans, like myself, have been left completely bewildered at his performances this season, there’s no passion, no desire to score, he seems unfit, and just generally not bothered at all. If your captain and leader has that mentality what does that show to the other players? A team is a reflection of their leader and right now i think the team is bang on Rooney’s level of motivation. I miss the Rooney that would be kicking out at players ,never stop running, flying into tackles , putting his neck on the line and doing anything he could to help the team. Are these poor performances Louis van Gaals fault? Personally i do think so. I’m sure the the word philosophy haunts you as much as it does me. Van Gaals philosophy seems to be to keep the ball, dominate possession and that’ll win games, but clearly that’s not the case. And the key problem is that to put it bluntly, Van Gaal is relentlessly stubborn and wont change. Football has changed hugely the past 5 – 10 years. His philosophy may have worked then but in a game that’s ever changing you have to adapt to the new styles, whether it fits your ‘philosophy’ or not. This is also not the philosophy that has carved players like Rooney into world class strikers , instead of trying to impose his own outdated strategies, he needs to start to look at the premier league winning side he inherited + Mata and Fellaini and work with the formula that got them there. To sum that section up, I believe that the players lethargic passion and boring attitudes are a result of the outdated styles of Louis Van Gaal, trying to instil tactics which are completely outdated and not what the players play well with,this is obviously going to result in the players becoming increasingly frustrated and a dip in the squad morale. Players who don’t believe in the manager and don’t play well under the managers system will not produce goals and hence will not win games.

I really do feel for LVG though, if you spend 250+ million on world class players you should expect them to fulfil a job and perform regardless of whether they like it or not. Maybe the players need a crash course in what it means to represent a club like Manchester United. Players like Patrice Evra , Rafael, Scholes, Giggs ect they all knew what it meant to play for us. Does the squad we have now? If I was given the red shirt and an opportunity to play I would be putting in 110% every week because I love the club. Does anybody in this Man United side share the same mindset? Bar maybe 1 or 2, I don’t think so. I think Sir Alex made this a vital requirement for any player he had in his side and I think this is hugely responsible for the success. I think this is where managers like Moyes and LVG have failed. They cant communicate to the players enough to motivate them sufficiently and make them realise the honour, desire and commitment you need to have to wear the shirt.

To conclude I don’t feel Louis Van Gaal is the right man to take us forward. His ‘philosophy’ is outdated, he’s managed to turn a once predominantly attacking side into a slow, boring and non-threatening, average side. He also can’t affectively motivate his extremely talented group of players to perform week in week out and having him continue into the 2016/2017 campaign would be a big mistake for the club.

Bored. – Manchester United v Sheffield United Match Review

Man Utd v Sheff Utd Stats

“I thought football was supposed to be entertainment?” questioned Jake Humphrey on BT Sport’s coverage.

“It’s supposed to be, and it used to be at this place. I don’t think anyone’s surprised at what we’ve seen in the first half. The players are bored, the fans are bored; everyone’s bored. You look at the manager and he looks bored as well” Scholes ranted in reply.

Unfortunately, he’s right. Saturday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United was yet another chapter in the drab novel of the 2015/16 season for Manchester United. Fans were restless, the players looked restless, Giggs looked restless. Once again we struggled to perform, struggled to excite, and struggled to score. It’s a story we’ve watched and read about over and over again this season, so why is there still no change? This is nothing new, after all.

Sheffield United are, for a League One side, a very decent cup team, reaching the Capital One League Cup semi finals last season, and the 5th round of the FA Cup a year previous to that. However, they are still a League One side, and when you field a strong team featuring the likes of Rooney, Herrera, Mata, Schweinsteiger, Martial and so on, a plethora of chances and opportunities should be being created. Yet, it took until just before the 70th minute for a shot on target (which even then was a scuffed toe-poke from Darmian), and took the introduction of a currently inconsistent Memphis Depay after 60 minutes to spark the tiniest ray of light into the game with two off-target shots. Most telling about the game was that these shots were ironically applauded as if they were actually goals scored, simply because he had a go.

So why are we so blunt in the final third? I am no football coach and I don’t claim to be. But it isn’t a case of footballing knowledge or coaching ability in my opinion, it’s simple common sense.

On deadline day we brought in a 19 year old striker from AS Monaco called Martial. Nobody expected much from him, but since his thunderous introduction at home against Liverpool, he has become our most direct, potent attacker at the club. Yet where is the prolific finisher played? Left wing. In the early part of the summer transfer window in 2014 we bought a dynamic, exciting, creative attacking midfielder from Athletic Bilbao called Ander Herrera. What happens at half time? He is pulled back to defensive midfield and Fellaini is moved forward. Mata – a number 10 at right wing. Rooney – (while more debateable) a number 10 at number 9. Pereira – a number 10/winger at defensive midfield. Fellaini – umm…

You get the point.

All these attacking players, goal-scorers and creators alike, are all played in unfamiliar positions, and we wonder why things don’t naturally click in the final third? Rather than instinct, these players are second guessing what they need to be doing at any given time, and are reverting to the safe option of a sideways or backwards pass each time. Mata is a passer, not a dribbler or a runner, so rather than instinctively doing what a winger should do – get to the by-line and whip in a cross, he has to think, cut back inside, and pass across. Martial through the centre offers the midfielders a forward pass in behind the defence, but instead the midfielders must pass sideways toward the wing in order to get him on the ball. This is why we get an over-thought, over-worked, drab way of playing football with so very little penetration that quite frankly would work well as a good way of sending a crying newborn to sleep.

That said, Sheffield had 10 men behind the ball at all opportunities, and naturally this would be hard for most teams to break down. However it still doesn’t forgive the lack of both intent and risk shown by seasoned international stars at one of the world’s biggest clubs. Play the players in their natural positions with the freedom to go and create in a fluid formation, and those two things will return naturally.

Negativity aside however, this is the football we signed up for as Manchester United when signing Van Gaal, in return for the building process that comes with him. At Bayern he frustrated fans with the very same style of football, but he was key in the laying of the groundwork for them to go onto great things in years to come, and it was the same with Barcelona before that.

Look forwards for a moment at our team in 5 years – a developed Martial up top; behind him a selection from a (hopefully) more consistent and developed Memphis, Pereira, Lingard, Herrera, Januzaj; fed by Schneiderlin in his prime; in front of a back line containing Shaw, McNair, Smalling in his prime, and Varela/Darmian; and potentially if we can keep hold of him, De Gea. This is why, even though we all likely dislike the football played under Lucky Louis, we must back him while the board do, as disgruntled as it obviously makes us.

Here’s to hoping for a potential improvement at Newcastle on Tuesday.

Adnan Januzaj Mistreatment by Louis van Gaal

Louis Van Gaal has mistreated Adnan Januzaj at Manchester United. He was the once promising spot in a terrible campaign by David Moyes, a campaign that produced better numbers than this of LVG.  

Louis Van Gaal put him on the outskirts of the squad in his first season, and when he actually had time to showcase his ability during the pre-season and the start of the year he did quite well but was sent out on loan instantly to a squad in which he would be put further down in the pecking order, behind the likes of Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubuyang and instead Wayne Rooney, Antony Martial, Juan Mata, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young would be the competing forces.

In this slump the team is currently in, it is very hard to see any bright point, and we need an injection of pace and creativity, something we could find with Adnan Januzaj. While Adnan was rotting on a bench in Germany, we were struggling to keep pace with the title challengers, raising further questions about LVG and his future, something which could be changed just by putting in Januzaj instead of the current lineup. Mata, A creative but slow methodical player.. Lingard, a youthful exuberant player who needs more refining much like Januzaj just not as quick or skilled. Memphis, who has thus far struggled to adapt to the premiershi. Martial who also has trouble sometimes with defences adapting to him but has thus far been one of our attacking bright spots. Rooney, who has been far below his standard ever since LVG became manager. Herrera, who has been our best outfield player when played but has been pushed to the outskirts of the squad by LVG for some unknown reason. Outside of these six we have little attacking talent since both Young and Valencia have been converted into makeshift fullbacks and Fellaini is more or less just a tall presence around the box with little other to offer in attack.

If LVG would give up his “Philosophy”, one that does nothing but put us to sleep and lose us games, he could switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation where Schneiderlin could be protecting the back four and have Memphis, Herrera, Mata and Januzaj across the four with Rooney up top, which would produce more goals. This would also allow Rooney to regain his form that had allowed him to be considered world class at one point.  When Memphis or anybody across that line has troubles Martial could step in and inject pace on the wings, or up top dropping Rooney to one of the two attacking mids, pushing Mata (if not dropped) to the wing. This would bring in more attacking play and would get United back to the United way.

In a sense the idea of tiki-taka played by LVG is useless. Nobody in the world uses it. Not Bayern not Barca only United and small minnow clubs. Tiki-taka is possession to keep the ball away from a better attacking opponent, keeping up the defence, producing a great defensive stat but very few goals to show for the domination in possession. Barca and Bayern play an overloading style to create a disadvantage to the other squad on a side of the field in which they may exploit, as shown by the greatness in goal differential of those two and the attacking talent flocks to those teams because of all the space they create for those attackers.

Due to Januzaj not excelling in a “passing first” type of system and wanting to take players on, he has been loaned out. For some reason LVG prefers a Memphis who likes to take players on, but drastically fails, due to the fact that he signed him as his Dutch superstar, something that LVG loves, while Adnan takes players on, beats them, and produces chances for either himself or the rest of the squad but often lacks the final shot.

With everyone playing poorly, such as when Moyes was around, i believe Januzaj will show his ability and produce far more in time and eventually get the rest of the squad producing with him just like under Moyes. There is a reason Ryan Giggs trusted him with the number 11, his famous number. Ryan Giggs sees a lot of himself in Adnan, a youthful, fast, smart player, who at first wasn’t the best with his end product but is continuing to refine it and I am sure if Giggs were currently the manager he would keep Adnan in the first 11 week in week out, letting him produce to his full capability and show us the potential we have all seen.

Video: Man United Fans vs Man City

Man United fans against Man City

The Man United fans were in great voice and spirit before, during and after the Man City game. This compilation of songs and chants shows why Man United have the best fans in the world.

We might not be playing well but our fans never stop having a laugh, singing and getting behind the team. We even took the time to mock Chelsea for the problems they’re having, despite the money they may have in the bank.

Watch the video and let us know you’re thoughts in the comment box below.

Sheff Utd Shows How Far United Have Fallen

Rooney - Sheffield United

Manchester United scrape a 1-0 win against League 1 opposition, Sheffield United, thanks to an injury time penalty.

It was a game we were expected to win, although nothing can be taken for granted in the FA Cup, however Manchester United’s style and tactics made it a much harder task than it needed to be.

The first half ended just as ever other half has this season, possession, cross which no one meets and few chances with no shots at goal.

If someone dared to do something special it may have come from Martial, however even he is wasted out on the left.

The second half wasn’t any better and when Memphis came on with the audacity to shot from distance the United fans responded with ironic cheers.

When the Dutchman went down inside the box to win a penalty in the 93rd min we knew a goal would only paper over the cracks. Rooney scored from the spot kick and United went on  to win but this wasn’t a game which was supposed to be just about getting a win.

How Low Have Man United Sunk?

The biggest criticism of Louis van Gaal and his style is….well there is no style to it, it’s boring, slow and even League 1 teams can defend against it.

We required a penalty to win because Sheffield United found it ridiculously easy to defend against a team which are supposed to be challenge for the Premier League.

Louis van Gaal, Rooney, Fellaini and many others have said “it was just about getting the win”, no it  wasn’t, this is a team who have been told by fans to play more exciting football. If they can create chances or have shots a goal against Sheffield United how are they supposed to do it next season when we are expected to challenge for the league?

If the Man United board decide to stick with Louis van Gaal he will have to get busy in the January transfer market because the team desperately needs a striker and right winger.

Martial Wins Player Of The Month

Anthony Martial Player of the Month

Anthony Martial has won the Manchester United player of the month for December, with an impressive 69% of the votes.

Martial, who signed in the summer has been a bright spark in a dull season and his goals against Wolfsburg and Norwich helped him stand out amongst the rest.

The French striker has been playing left wing for the majority of time at United, however the start of December saw him move upfront with Rooney out injured.

Chris Smalling, who’s also had an impressive season came second with Daley Blind, an unsung hero at CB, taking fourth spot.

At just 21 yrs old Martial is proving to be an excellent signing and even those who want Louis van Gaal out would have to admit signing the Frenchman has been his greatest achievement at the club.

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