Louis van Gaal has opted for the 3-5-2 formation for three of his first four games in charge at Old Trafford.
In those three games Van Gaal has failed to win a game, picking up just two points out of a possible nine against inferior sides. In contrast, a switch to a 4-4-2 diamond against QPR saw Van Gaal register his first competitive win since taking charge at United.
Formation change a positive?
This simple formation correlation indicates that Van Gaal should abandon his 3-5-2 formation. Although Q.P.R put up little resistance to combat United, their 4-0 win was undoubtedly the best they have looked all season.
Argentine full back Marcos Rojo linked up effortlessly with national team mate Angel Di Maria, whilst Rafael's return to fitness enabled Van Gaal to play four at the back. As the full backs managed to provide support going forward, United looked a much greater threat going forward in contrast to their spear-less attack in a 3-5-2 formation.
New signing Daley Blind looked extremely promising as he sat in front of the defence and controlled the game, giving a further balance to the team than Darren Fletcher, whom in that role looked less effective. Consequently, although United fans shouldn't get carried away by the 4-0 victory over Q.P.R, there is certainly a strong case to be made that a 4-4-2 diamond is the way to go for Van Gaal.
The suitability of the squad
Secondly, Van Gaal's squad better suits a 4-4-2 diamond than a 3-5-2. This is because there is a deficit in defence, where as in attack Van Gaal has more options.
For instance, attacking players such as Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj are likely to be left out if the Dutchman remains persistent in his formation. Furthermore, United have spent more than any other club in a calendar year in the transfer market, and the players brought in do not fit the 3-5-2.
With the attacking recruits of Di Maria and Falcao, along with Van Gaal's failure to bring in a natural centre back, this outlines that United don't have the defensive options to play three at the back, and have too many attacking talents to play a 3-5-2.
Van Gaal to be rigid?
However, judging by Van Gaal's latest comments, it is not looking encouraging that he will keep the 4-4-2 diamond. In his pre-match press conference against Q.P.R he stated he is only playing a 4-4-2 because he didn't have 'enough centre backs' with Smalling and Jones out injured.
However, if the match against Q.P.R was anything to go by, a 4-4-2 diamond particularly against lesser teams would undoubtedly benefit Louis Van Gaal's team.