Manchester United legend Paul Scholes believes Angel di Maria's red card against Arsenal in March was a turning point for his former side.
Scholes, who was writing for the Independent, believes that the sending off to the Argentine handed Van Gaal the opportunity to build his new-look team at Old Trafford.
Di Maria, of course, was shown two yellow cards in the FA Cup showdown, which ultimately saw the Red Devils eliminated from the competition.
Since the defeat on home soil to the Gunners, Van Gaal's side have been in tremendous form in England's elite division, and are now closing in on a place in next year's Champions League competition.
There's no doubt about it, United have been at their best without Di Maria in the starting XI, with the duo of Juan Mata and Ashley Young playing down the flanks.
And Scholes has certainly been impressed with the United side of late, as he stated: "I still feel that Angel Di Maria’s red card against Arsenal was critical in allowing Van Gaal to build this new-look team.
"Looking at the side it seems to me to be a triumph of the underdog - Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young. All of whom looked like they could be out the picture at the start of the season and are now having a big impact.
"The formation is bold. It is much more attacking and more what I expected of Van Gaal when he arrived.
"There is a spine of four players – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Fellaini and Wayne Rooney – that runs through the middle. Then Young and Mata wide."
The new-look United side, then, will no doubt be hoping to continue their fine form against Chelsea this weekend as the Red Devils travel to Stamford Bridge to take on the league leaders.
Scholes is right
It's hard to argue with Scholes. At the end of the day, since the Arsenal game, Manchester United have been magnificent: with win after win, the Red Devils are finally delivering on a consistent basis again.
And what makes it even sweeter for Red Devils fans is that fact that they're playing some fantastic stuff. In the early stages of the campaign, United, under the Van Gaal regime, were seemingly still lacking an identity, failing to find any rhythm to their game.
That has all changed now, however, with Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick ticking things along nicely in the middle of the park, while the likes of Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney are a constant threat in attack.
Manchester United fans: Do you agree with Scholes? Was Di Maria's red card against Arsenal a blessing in disguise? Have your say in the comments section below!
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