It's been a long (and at times tedious) international break, but now the Premier League is back. And there's a hell of a lot of pressure on a certain Dutchman in the north west.
You all know the story by now. Van Gaal the saviour hasn't got off to the best of starts. His record reads three league games and zero wins, while the Capital One Cup won't be troubling them any more this season thanks MK Dons.
£150 million has been spent too on six new players - with four of them yet to actually play for their new club thanks to a combination of injuries and the overlap between the start of the season and the end of the transfer window.
So much has been written about Manchester United in recent weeks - about their spending, about their transition under Van Gaal, about their revenue off the pitch - and now the time has come for them to show they're worth the hype. And frankly, they couldn't have handpicked a better opponent to kickstart the Van Gaal era if they tried.
They will take on newly-promoted QPR at Old Trafford, with some of the world's best players on board, four debutants, one of the world's best coaches on the touchline and 70,000-odd fans urging them on to victory. If three points aren't gained on Sunday, there's no two ways about it - it will be an unadulterated disaster.
QPR's record in the Premier League over the last few seasons isn't great, in fact it's disastrous. Since Harry Redknapp took over in November 2012, he's guided them to just five Premier League victories in 27 top flight games across two seasons. There's worse to come as well; in his professional managerial career, which began in 1983 - before every single Manchester United player except Michael Carrick was born - he's not claimed a single point at Old Trafford. Not a sausage.
All in, that's across 14 games. 14 games and zero points. There's plenty of other reasons why Rangers shouldn't walk away from Manchester United with so much as a shot on goal, let alone a point too. Their biggest test of the current season came against Tottenham and they were blown away 4-0. There can't have been too many worse performances in the Premier League; they were atrocious.
Ok, so Rangers have bought some good players, got a win and changed up their system but make no mistake; Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United would have made mincemeat of them.
Then you have the battle on the touchline, Van Gaal the tactical master against Redknapp the chances; only one winner right?
Well, there should be. But if that element of doubt starts creeping in, then all the advantages Manchester United hold will start to slip away. Nerves and anxiety will flood Old Trafford - after all, when you include the 'Moyes months' they've not exactly been spoiled with wins at home over the last year - and that's when they could crack.
It would be foolish to say drastic chances would be required if they didn't win against QPR but it's hard to envisage where they go from there if they only get a point against perhaps the softest opposition in the league. It will only be worse if they, whisper it quietly, lose.Much was made of their 'easy start' but if they don't win this weekend they will have only the cream of the crop to come and very few points on the board.
That means three points is the minimum requirement on Sunday. Anything else would be a disaster. In fact, it would be a new low for this fallen giant.
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