Saturday, 26 December 2015

Britannia loss may be the end for LVG

The first half performance at Stoke was the worst I've seen from a United side in years with too many players either out of form or not good enough. 

Too many players are underperforming but whilst the blame for United's current problems cannot be pinned entirely on the manager, the Dutchman has to take a large portion of the responsibility. 

The team look lost for ideas, are playing without passion, style, motivation, substance and a clear game plan - for weeks now, it looks as though the players have not been playing for the manager. 

The Dutchman was already under pressure before kick-off following a poor run of form but the manner of our defeat at the Britannia is bound to raise more questions about his future.

United rarely looked like getting back into the game after falling behind and showed little desire, fighting spirit and leadership as we found ourselves outmuscled and outfought by an impressive Stoke side.

The Reds improved after the break but the Potters, managed by former United striker Mark Hughes, fully deserved their victory. 

Van Gaal has looked a broken man for many weeks now and his lack of fight and answers to this slump have transcended to the players - who themselves seem simply unable to find a way out. 

United's lack of goals - seven in the past nine league games - have been well documented but yet our latest downfall was caused by alarming errors at the back.

Memphis Depay's intended header back to De Gea was far too short and the unmarked Bojan made the visitors pay after Glen Johnson had seized on the error.

Having already beaten Chelsea and Manchester City at the Britannia this season,  make no mistake that the home side were worthy winners with their front four of Bojan, Arnautovic, Ibrahim Afellay and Xherdan Shaqiri causing Phil Jones, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling huge problems with their pace and trickery. 

For van Gaal, his tactics at Stoke were again hard to fathom.

Young playing at right-back up against an attack of that quality was an accident waiting to happen and the first half proved that the gamble of leaving Wayne Rooney on the bench was the wrong call.
Morgan Schneiderlin was once again an unused substitute when his pace, bite and strength in midfield could have proved crucial in stopping Stoke's creative and talented attacking outfit. 

A change of impetus and momentum is needed and it's hard to see how Van Gaal can survive this latest loss ahead of Chelsea on Monday. 

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