Following Manchester United's defeat to Southampton, Louis van Gaal was questioned over his decision to omit Radamel Falcao from the proceedings.
Falcao was left out by Van Gaal in one of the most important matches of United's season; the Colombian striker did not even make the bench. Instead, Van Gaal decided to choose 19-year-old striker James Wilson, who eventually was not handed a single minute in the match.
Falcao at United
Before last Sunday night Falcao had started five previous matches for United, so it was reasonable that Van Gaal wanted to give him a rest. However, leaving out completely the expensive loanee, who earns £265,000 a week in wages, has confused many fans.
After the game, Van Gaal explained that he left out Falcao because there was no place for a second striker. The Dutch wanted cover in defence and out wide, and that must be the reason he put three central defenders - Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans - on the bench.
Van Gall's call
Ultimately it became evident that Van Gaal miscalculated. Under tough marking from Southampton captain Jose Fonte, number one striker Robin van Persie failed to make any impact before being replaced. Van Gaal then had to move Wayne Rooney, who started the match as a midfielder, up front, and bring in Marouane Fellaini.
Article continues below
United then continuously bumped the ball over Southampton's defence in search for Fellaini's head, but these tactics bore no fruit. In the end, United failed to register a shot on target. The last time thing like that happened was May 2009, in a match against Arsenal.
United fans obviously have reason to put the blame on Van Gaal. Falcao may not be at his best, but the once-prolific striker is still a better option up front than Fellaini. His work-rate, and especially his smart movement, make things much easier for the midfielders.
United, after all, are not paying Falcao the money he is commanding for him to watch one of the most decisive matches of the season from the stand.