Sunday 14 February 2016

Pride comes before a fall for Van Gaal at Sunderland

Louis van Gaal's arrogance and pride got the better of him again as United lost to struggling Sunderland on Saturday.

Memphis Depay might have welcomed the Valentines weekend's timing, as he has felt little love from United supporters in recent months.

Debatably blamed for Chelsea's late equaliser last week and demoted to the Under 21s on Monday night (although not due to punishment), Memphis became the latest Van Gaal substitution who failed to galvanise United.

Van Gaal arrived in Manchester on the back of a World Cup memorable for his in-game management, which included the game-changing introduction of the young winger against Australia- yet that Midas touch has long since deserted him.

However listless United's forwards were at Sunderland, the bigger problem was in central midfield.
It's been patent from the opening day of the season that Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin were an incompatible axis, yet Van Gaal not only started both of them at the Stadium of Light but hooked Schneiderlin only after the hosts had regained the lead.

Carrick was pedestrian and Schneiderlin looked unusually forlorn, and- although the fans might loathe to admit it- the team missed Marouane Fellaini's presence.

Against Stoke and Chelsea, Fellaini forced the issue: with Carrick holding behind him, he played purposefully and offered added impetus that quickened United's attack.
Devoid of the Belgian at Sunderland, United needed a forward-thinker in his place yet Ander Herrera could only watch as Carrick and Schneiderlin exchanged ineffectual passes.

The Spanish playmaker should have been Van Gaal's first change.

United needed a conduit between the midfield and attack, rather than extra energy on the flanks, and Memphis arrival negated Anthony Martial's threat on the left flank.

Van Gaal was selfish- Herrera and Andreas Pereira were both inherited by him, in contrast to Memphis, whose signing was made possible by Van Gaal's intervention and he seems desperate 
to prove he was justified in signing the winger.

Google 'Dutch arrogant' and the first image is of Van Gaal- he is as dogmatic as Donald Trump and, however talented Memphis is, he is currently unreliable as a starter and as a substitute.

Van Gaal has hooked him three times at the pause this season and in the last two games he has introduced him to the detriment of the team.

He was busy and bright against Sheffield United and Newcastle last month, when his emergence was logical, but he was an unsuitable choice at Chelsea when United struggled to retain possession.

Although an upgrade on Jesse Lingard at Sunderland, he was isolated by the ponderous pairing of Carrick and Schneiderlin and, although involved, his introduction did not improve the performance of the team.

The duo's timidity typified United's lightweight showing at the Stadium of Light and they were beaten by aggressive artisans.
We simply lacked the fight to beat a side languishing the relegation dogfight- but Memphis was not to blame this time. 

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