Van Gaal on the Rocks?
It’s always easy to sensationalise events at Manchester United, especially when the media get involved. A run of the mill home game against Swansea can be hyped up to epic proportions with the right headline – I’m thinking “Shelvey plans to urinate on pitch if Swans beat United”. Feeling pumped up? That’s how the media works and it’s why Sky has been so successful over the years. They can make an end of season dead rubber game between Stoke & West Ham sound like a title deciding El Classico with a well constructed musical montage and the right voiceover – although they quite rightly draw the line at trying to turn Michael Owen in to a credible and interesting presenter. Definitely dodged a tin of grey paint throwing BT Sports under the bus with Owen there.
Back to United though and Manchester United v West Brom on Saturday afternoon is a season defining game and one that really does need building up. In normal circumstances it would be a home banker where three points would be as routine as Arsenal getting embarrassed in Europe. But this year’s it’s different. This year there’s an air of uncertainty round Old Trafford that us fans are finding extremely hard to come to terms with. And Saturday’s performance will go a long way to deciding where that uncertainty ends.
In the Autumn of 2013 David Moyes lost his first league game at Old Trafford two one to West Brom and the scene was set for what would lead to Moyes departure the following April. On Saturday Van Gaal faces a West Brom side that is well organised under Tony Pulis. But more importantly they face a West Brom side that will park the bus far more effectively than CSKA Moscow and offer a very real threat on the counter and from set pieces. In short, United will be tested and any win would be a huge positive.
But like Anderson at an all you can eat buffet, one plate of food isn’t enough. We need more on Saturday. There’s no escaping the fact that the United faithful, especially the home and away support are growing restless. They’re tired of the uninspiring football. They’re embarrassed that we sit bottom of the league when it comes to chances to created. And they want football played the United Way.
What is the United Way? One follower on Twitter actually accused me in the week of being obsessed with Sir Alex’s reign and stated “The United Way? Don’t you mean the Sir Alex way?” No we don’t. We mean the United Way. It wasn’t a concept born during the reign of Sir Alex, it dates back decades right through our history and exciting football is the key.
So on Saturday afternoon United must entertain. To be precise, LVG must entertain us, Rooney must continue his improvement and United must win. Yes you could argue that if we play well and lose by the odd goal in unfortunate circumstances they deserve a let off. But let’s be honest. If our current Manchester United side play well West Brom won’t get close.
United fans expect Louis. And I for one can’t wait. Come on United!
By Mark Goldbridge