By Larry Taylor (@larrytee0)
After Manchester United lost for the second time to Arsenal in 2006, the great Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that”.
This time, Arsenal provided the keys to the top 4 and put them in Manchester United’s hands. Win your final two games and secure Champions League football. It appears a foregone conclusion that the Red Devils would have all the motivation they need to put their best foot forward and obtain this goal.
But it didn’t happen. In case you hadn’t heard (you’ve heard), this was the final game at Upton Park, and the West Ham fans made sure the Manchester United players knew it. From the kick-off, United were off the pace. West Ham were not brilliant by any means; they simply out-enthused Manchester United. Every header, every loose-ball, West Ham were a step closer than United.
United found themselves down 1-0 after 10 minutes and failed to create any rhythm or continuity to their play through-out the first half.
The 2nd half saw United start fast, and like many other occasions, it took brilliance from 20 year-old Anthony Martial who scored a brace of goals in the space of 25 minutes, and put Manchester United in the lead. It was there. Right in this moment, Manchester United are in the top 4. 10 minutes later, it was all over.
A few set-pieces and horrible defending later, United found themselves losing 3-2. The wait for the kitchen-sink to be thrown in search for much needed goals was evident in the heart beat of every Manchester United fan – but it never came. Not a single shot. United lose the game and again, give the advantage back to Manchester City.
The situation Manchester United find themselves in sits solely on Louis Van Gaal’s shoulders. Granted, players performed horribly; but it is the manager’s responsibility to prepare his team to perform to the best of their potential.
Marcus Rojo has been out of form for the best part of a month, yet fails to get dropped. United needed a goal, so the Dutchman brings on Adnan Januzaj who has had an appalling season. These are the moments where you have to question why Danny Welbeck, Chichartio and Robin Van Persie have been allowed to leave the club when the bench had no strikers available.
United were only in this fortuitous position due to Manchester City’s inconsistent form since the announcement of Pep Guardiola’s imminent arrival. In 2 seasons, Louis Van Gaal has diminished everything that Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby took years to build.
After being handed the keys, Louis Van Gaal handed them right back to City without a fight. One level of praise towards the much-maligned manager is the signing of Anthony Martial; but the fact that United’s go-to man is a 20 year old in his first season at the club, says everything this wrong with the current state of the squad.
All season, United legends, pundits and fans have criticised the manner of which the Red Devils play their football, but it never changes. Louis Van Gaal was a great manager, but his inability to adapt to modern football will be his downfall and should cost him his job.
Thank you for bringing through some promising players, but it is time to go. The club is a rabble; creative players have lost their confidence to express themselves; new signings have been misused and as a result, affected and most importantly, the club has lost their identity.
Good bye, Louis. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.