Louis Van Gaal came into Manchester United following a successful World Cup campaign with the Netherlands.
He was declared a tactical genius who would sort the United squad out, ridding it of the poor quality, high wage players, and kickstart United onto new glories.
This has not been the case, and so far not once yet in the competitive season has his 'genuis' shone through. All United fans have suffered is a series of shocking managerial decisions - yes the players are not good enough for the club, but the way they have been sent out could almost be as successful as if selections and substitutes were pulled out of a hat.
Let's take the embarrassment against MK Dons, a truly poor team. He set out with, for him, a relatively defensive looking back five with only one player (Vermijl - a RB/LB in CB) out of position.
What is he thinking?!
This is a huge step up from his other decisions such as playing Young and Januzaj in the wing back roles. Anderson and Powell in the middle seemed to make sense and the attack looked OK. However, what I can't fathom is why this so-called bastian of youth products chose, once again, to not start Januzaj - arguably the best young player in the world on his day (although the rise of Sterling could have stolen his crown as Moyes, Giggs and LvG had and have decided that Januzaj's best position is on the bench.)
I was almost joyous when Kagawa had to go off and we brought on Januzaj. What did Van Gaal do to overrule this good move however? Take off a RB, put Januzaj into RWB and bring on Pereira into the CAM role. Genius at work here - definitely. The substitute of Powell for Wilson - a CM for a ST - led to me giving up all hope of a goal in the game.
Van Gaal has always played 4-3-3. It was only in the World Cup campaign where he had an abundance of poor defenders did he adopt a five at the back system. United have poor defenders yes (Smalling and Evans spearheading them), but they do not have an abundance.
Ferdinand and Evra should have stayed and injuries now mean that United don't have a back four of first team players in natural positions. No manager worth his salt should then field players dangerously out of position to maintain a five at the back - it is idiocy at its best. There is absolutely no other word for it.
Van Gaal not shocked by defeat
Not only are the tactics dubious - the players selected are shocking. LvG has not instilled in them any rhythm of passing for chance creation, he has not instilled any method of marking nor tackling nor tracking back. This is highlighted by how easy it has been for teams to run straight through the United defence and how they have been unable to create anything from the back - the most common outball being a David de Gea boot up the field (De Gea, a player who looks more like the kid bought a few years ago than the relatively assured man between the sticks last season).
He should, really, go back to his 4-3-3 or even a 4-4-2. They could so easily field a strong team in this formation - even if the David Moyes panic buy Juan Mata haunts him and he has to leave him on the bench. With the addition of Di Maria and Rojo, who should both have work permits for United's next league game, they could field an almost 'United-of-old' looking team with pace in abundance down the wings and a fit Van Persie always capable of notching a few.
Whatever Van Gaal does - if he doesn't improve soon then he will be getting the same treatment as David Moyes from a growingly dissatisfied support base - something that the owners will also take into account.
I personally believe that they should just open up the cheque book and get in Vidal and Hummels no matter what the cost - lest they risk going for another shocking season. The reported De Jong and Blind could do the job, but they aren't first-class players of the quality of the aforementioned two, and as soon as United start buying from the second-rate market, they are already accepting defeat.
It looks like it's going to be another long season at Old Trafford.
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