Monday, 14 December 2015

Flawed progress under LVG for plodding United

When Louis van Gaal took over United were in crisis following the calamitous tenure of David Moyes with the Reds having gone from champions to seventh in the first post-Sir Alex Ferguson season.

Van Gaal fulfilled his remit of getting the club back into the Champions League at the first attempt, but last week's exit from the competition from one of the easiest groups was a major setback for the Reds and the manager.

Defeat at Bournemouth compounded that failing yet United still find themselves within touching distance in the title race, just six points behind leaders Leicester approaching the halfway point of the season.

The problem for LVG is that the style of football he has imposed on United: rigid, pragmatic and lacking flair and style, is at odds with ethos and tradition of the club and, when it does not yield results, backlash from the fans is fierce.

What hasn't helped Van Gaal is his decision to work with a smaller squad this season, despite the fact we will play more games due to our involvement in Europe.

That decision has backfired with nine players currently injured.

He has jettisoned three strikers in RVP, Radamel Falcao and Javier Hernandez - as well as letting James Wilson go out on loan - and brought in just Anthony Martial whose goals have dried up after an explosive start.

Defensively, LVG has improved the side but that has come at a cost: we no longer attack at breakneck speed and have become predictable and prosaic in the way we set up in matches.

As mentioned elsewhere, his judgement in the transfer market has been questionable, too.

Only Martial - signed for a very inflated price - has been a success - although his recent lean spell, coupled with Wayne Rooney's injury and poor form, has left us lacking up top.

Matteo Darmian has regressed after a positive start and both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin have blown hot and cold. 

To spend what he has since taking over and still not know what his best team is and have such an unbalanced and shallow squad reflects so badly on Van Gaal and his management.

He goes on about philosophy but yet no-one really knows what vision he is trying to realise at Old Trafford.

Last season we he took over we weren't even in Europe - never mind the Champions League - and yet now we are title contenders despite what's happened in the last few weeks, so there has been progress but how tangible is it? 

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