Manchester United and Paula Abdul. Who’d have thought that would ever be the opening line to our blog? But as the late great Abdul once sang, “two steps forward two steps back” is very appropriate when discussing Louis Van Gaal’s reign at United. Unfortunately, in this instance, opposites don’t attract.
The cold hard truth is, like Anderson in a takeaway queue, United fans are losing patience fast. And who can blame them? Yes Lingard has missed four golden opportunities in the last two games and Martial should have done better with his chance in the first half against PSV. But on the flip side of the coin, how many saves did De Gea make against Watford last week and who could seriously say PSV weren’t good for their draw on Wednesday night? As for the Fellaini substitution, Van Gaal can absolve himself of blame all he likes and blame results on poor finishing but he is solely responsible for that disaster. Love or loathe Fellaini in a United shirt – it’s got to the point now where I have a sick bowl beside me in preparation for his arrival – it’s universally accepted that Fellaini was found out months ago. Mourinho cut down the tree last April and teams have been drilling holes in his game ever since. Bizarrely, Van Gaal seems unable to grasp this truth and has been trying to replant the “felled” tree ever since. It’s dead Louis! Sell it for firewood and move on.
Let’s pretend Fellaini was still effective for a moment though. Is that really how United fans want their club to play? That when things aren’t going to plan in the first half of a game we immediately revert to the Fellaini slow build up, high ball option in the second half? To be blunt – like United’s attack – it’s championship tactics and that’s where Fellaini belongs. That may sound harsh but name me a side in the Premier League that would have him in their first team? Sunderland definitely, Newcastle maybe? Other than that I’d argue that none of them would. The game has moved on since his Everton days and the truth is he’d struggle to make the match day squad of City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool.
But let’s not lose sight of the real issue. It’s not Fellaini’s fault. My gran supports United and if she was offered the chance to play up front for her club I’m sure she’d jump at the chance – chronic arthritis permitting. So we can’t blame Fellaini for being picked. Van Gaal is paid to make these decisions and like a carwash attendant who uses a brillo pad to wax a Ferrari, it’s him who is responsible for the issues we face right now.
Amazingly, a win at Leicester will put us top of the league though. And with two winnable home games and Bournemouth away to come that would give us a massive chance of being top by Christmas Day. With that in mind it’s surely very hard to be LVG out if that becomes a reality? Of course the flip side is, by the middle of December there’s a good chance we’ll be in the Europa League. Unforgivable when you look at the Champions League group we were placed in.
Personally I think both scenarios are highly likely. Which brings us back to the start. Two steps forward two steps back. I suspect I’ve stumbled upon the name of LVG’s United legacy? Or another one might be “How to make winning painful”. Let’s wait and see.
Bastian Schweinsteiger believes Louis van Gaal can succeed at Manchester United as he did at Bayern Munich.
The World Cup winner says that Bayern Munich fans were unsure of van Gaal at the beginning. And that it took a while for the players to become accustomed to the Dutchman’s style of play. But Bayern Munich went on to win the double.
In response to claims that Manchester United are lacking in goals, Schweinsteinger notes that it is not too dissimilar in Germany. The midfield maestro points out that Bayern Munich recently drew 0-0 with Frankfurt; unable to break down a team that were playing with 10 men behind the ball.
To read the full article on the Guardian website, click here.
Where do you stand on Louis van Gaals style? Is Schweinsteiger right to ask for patience? Join the discussion in the United Stand fan forum by clicking here.
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
Under performing Memphis Depay receives warning from boss Louis van Gaal.
Following his arrival in the summer, Memphis had a bright start to his Manchester United career, scoring two against FC Bruges, one against former club PSV and one away at Sunderland.
However, in recent weeks the 21 year old has struggled to live up to his own and the fans’ expectations.
This has led to the former Eredivisie star receiving a warning from manager Louis van Gaal with the boss saying that Memphis could suffer the same fate as former United stars Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.
Louis van Gaal had this to say:
Ryan has already given advice to him but the player is responsible for his own deeds,
You have to give respect to your team philosophy.
Read the full article on the Sky Sports website here.
Do you think Memphis will come good or do you think he will end up leaving Old Trafford next summer? Leave us a comment below.