United's first outing in October proves a chastening one as Arsenal sink a ragged United with three goals in an opening 20 minute burst to leapfrog the Reds in the table.
Following the ill-timed international break, the Reds travel to a far from happy recent hunting ground- Goodison Park- where United have lost in the last three seasons under three different managers.
This time, though, it's different as the Reds produce their best away day display of the campaign with Morgan Schneiderlin's first United goal added to by strikes from Ander Herrera and Rooney's first at Everton since 2007.
That sends United back up to second and also sees a first appearance since Van Gaal's first game in charge for Academy graduate Jesse Lingard after a knee injury.
Martial's first European goal for the Reds earns a come-from-behind point in Moscow against CSKA on Matchday Three, the first of four consecutive stalemates as the first signs of frustration begin to show.
Manchester City roll into town and although we return to the summit and do enough to win it- with good chances for Lingard and Herrera- the visitors defensive approach stifles United and we're forced to settle for stalemate.
Things do not get any better in midweek as Middlesbrough triumph on penalties in the fourth round of the League Cup after another goalless outing- as Rooney, Carrick and Young all fail from the spot to knock the Reds out and send Championship Boro through to the quarter-finals.
Simmering tensions come to a head with the manager's future now increasingly questioned after a ghastly Halloween for the team at Crystal Palace- a third successive 0-0 draw amid cries of 'attack attack attack' from the travelling fans at Selhurst Park.
Palace have the better of the contest- Bolasie hits the bar-and merit the win but an undeserved point and renewed defensive solidity is of small comfort to a fanbase upset and disillusioned by Van Gaal's cautious and stymied setup.
United slip down to fourth with pre-season title favourites City leading the way with Arsenal in close pursuit- Van Gaal's side are four points behind.
Martial and Memphis continue to be tied in United's goalscoring charts with United now not having scored for 325 minutes.