Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has once again taken a swipe at Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal, this time bashing his tactics as he feels it doesn’t make the Red Devils lethal enough in front of goal.
Scholes, who hung up his boots when Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down, wrote in his column for the London Evening Standard that in his mind Van Gaal’s favoured 3-5-2 formation helped his side to retain possession, but at the same time was detrimental when it came to penetrating opponents in the final third.
United up front
So far this season United’s strikers have failed to keep up with those sitting at the top of the scoring charts, with none of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao having hit double figures domestically despite their glittering reputations.
The startling trend conspired to see United lose to Southampton at Old Trafford last weekend despite the visitors having just 39 percent possession, and Scholes believes any goal scoring problem is a product of Van Gaal’s system.
"In a 3-5-2 formation, that width is just not there for United," the former Red Devils midfielder wrote, as relayed by The Independent.
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"Luke Shaw is an orthodox left-back being asked to play wing-back. Antonio Valencia has lost some of that great pace he once had, and it is more difficult for him to get past players when his starting position is so deep.
"There is no doubt that 3-5-2 helps you keep the ball. The three centre-halves and the three central midfielders can pass it around to their heart’s content. The problem comes when you try to hurt teams in attacking areas.
"You can have all the possession you like, but if you are not creating “2 v 1” situations where you outnumber your opposition and get behind them, then you are not going to score enough goals."
"You can have all the possession you like, but if you are not creating “2 v 1” situations where you outnumber your opposition and get behind them, then you are not going to score enough goals"
The 40-year-old, who enjoyed a stunning career with United before retiring for good in 2013, has been vocal regarding his criticism of the club since stepping down from playing. Previous rants have included Scholes suggesting that the team needed drastic improvement if it was to qualify for the Champions League this season, as well as questioning the decision to hand Rooney a lucrative new contract last year.
Van Gaal's system
Few can really argue with his latest comments however, with United not looking nearly as dangerous as they have in past campaigns, and the likes of Rooney and Van Persie appearing somewhat subdued in front of goal.
Falcao’s poor strike rate can be attributed to the fact that he appears to have had trouble settling and has suffered a string of injuries, but Van Persie’s conundrum is strange indeed.
The Netherlands striker was expected to excel this term given that he was used to Van Gaal’s setup and a solid favourite of the 63-year-old. Instead rumours are abound of an exit from Old Trafford, and at times the ex-Arsenal captain has cut a dejected figure on the pitch.