Football

Ed Woodward has some explaining to do..

Ed Woodward's statement on Louis van Gaal in 2014 was so wrong it hurts

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Manchester United will sack their second manager in the space of three years this week if they have not already.

As we speak, it is believed Louis van Gaal and his lawyers are negotiating his severance package with the Red Devils having already been told his contract has been terminated with one year remaining.

Van Gaal has faced fierce criticism for the style of play he has installed at Old Trafford, which has frequently been described as brain-meltingly boring, or something of that ilk.

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Similarly, David Moyes was heavily criticised during his ill-fated 11 months in charge but one man who has seemingly escaped attention, at least from within the Manchester United boardroom, is Ed Woodward.

The executive vice-chairman was handed the unenviable task of replacing David Gill, who left alongside Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. While Ferguson has the stand named after him, the influence of Gill on United's success cannot be understated.

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Bad judgement

Like Ferguson's successors, Woodward has not filled the boots left for him. He has been routinely mocked for pursuing untransferable players, like Neymar, and overpaying for the ones he has signed, like Marouane Fellaini.

Needless to say, some are seriously questioning Woodward's judgement and his critics are having an absolute field day after his quotes on Van Gaal in 2014 resurfaced. After announcing his arrival, Woodward said something that we can accurately label as catastrophically wrong. 

"He's got incredible energy and very importantly he likes attacking football," said Woodward back in July 2014.

"If you remember the Barcelona team he managed in the late 90s, they played incredible, attacking football, and those games we had against them in 98/99, that's the kind of football Manchester United fans love. It's part of our DNA."

Hmmm...

So how wrong was Woodward?

Well, according to Opta Stats, who are never, ever wrong about these things, Manchester United were absolutely rubbish at attacking this season.

They scored an average of 1.29 goals per game in the Premier League this season; their lowest in the history of the league. It is a stark contrast to their best season (1999/2000) when they scored almost double the number of goals.

They also broke an internal Premier League record for most passes per shot (68.5 passes per shot) smashing the previous record, which was also set under Van Gaal's reign (57.9). They also produced far more back passes than any other team in the division.

Their most inefficient performances came against  Manchester City when they completed 543 passes yet produced just three shots, and against Newcastle when 637 passes saw 11 shots. They scored once against City and none against the Magpies.

And, of course, this all came after Van Gaal had spent over £250million in transfers.

Good call, Woodward. Good call.

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Football
Premier League
Ryan Giggs

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