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Rowlesy’s Ramblings- United back on track with FOUR at the back

Happy Monday y’all!

I’ve missed that feeling on a Monday morning when you can go to work happy in the knowledge we have secured three points and can look forward to the rest of the week with relish. Especially when you sit opposite a row of Scousers talking up their dizzy heights of 8th.

We only went and persisted with that pigging three at the back again, didn’t we? You know things are bleak when fans have to resort to chanting their desired formation. I bet we seldom, if ever, have felt it necessary to bellow FOUR FOUR TWO from the terraces, however that first half at Loftus Road was pretty dire, an unfortunate recurring theme this season. That Van Gaal only elected to gamble on the much loathed 3-5-2 with Holland because of a pre-tournament injury to the heartbeat of their midfield Kevin Strootman speaks volumes.

You have to establish in the embryonic stage of your management which system the players you are equipped with can feel the most comfortable with. Right from the outset, our current crop have looked ill at ease with the tactics. Namely the centre-backs, with only Marcos Rojo of the out and out centre-backs the only one to possess a semblance of composure in possession.

Sometimes you get the impression that Van Gaal is too stubborn for his own good. Having your own footballing principles is all fine and dandy, everyone has their own idea of how football should be played, but this system needs fundamentally addressing post haste. Sideways and back is not the United way, that footballing crew cut does not bear many fruits.

Here’s a thought, Ryan Giggs’ staple diet in his United legacy never wandered from 4-4-2. Is he getting into Louis’ ear that this is how we have accumulated spades of silverware down the years? Or is he a disciple, merely a ‘Yes Man’ as he wants his copybook untarnished as the heir apparent?

Hopefully, with some divine intervention, the system and performance after the restart on Saturday will be the watershed, the eureka moment, the permanent ditching of the back three. The improvement and return to the old United was a breath of fresh air, the difference was so marked even if Dave had to bail us out again, buts that’s just what he does. I’d like to believe that LVG merely didn’t bow down to fan pressure and he genuinely realised the back three does not have legs long-term.

Who knew that playing players in their niche positions actually produces better performances either? Once ADM and Rooney reverted to their proper stations, we started to play. Everyone can clearly see that di Maria is blunted in that ‘Robben’ role. He started like a train when he was collecting the ball deep on the left of a diamond and driving into the space created by two strikers playing on the shoulder occupying the opposition centre-backs. We need that early di Maria back, not with his back to goal trying to be something he simply is not.

I can’t be the only one who is completely made up for young James Wilson. Regular readers of my ramblings will know just how highly I rate and just how far I think he will go. I loved his goal on Saturday, not just the endeavour to follow in his initial attempt but the confidence and selfishness to finish it off. Rather than lay it on a plate for the star-studded names of Falcao or Di Maria, who were better placed, he had the cojones to say ‘leave this to me’. There is no better sight than your hand-picked local fruit producing the goods on the pitch, it’s the ultimate, something we in particular have prided ourselves on for generations. He should get a start in the Cup and who would bet against him getting on the scoresheet again?

We take another break from Premier League action as we face League 2 Cambridge in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Friday night. With the game being televised on BBC, they would receive a financial windfall as it is. So for them to charge over double the standard gate price for a league game just because the big fish are in town is frankly nothing short of a pisstake. Not that it will deter our lot from racking up the miles, but there is a principle involved. I doubt that Cambridge will want to have a Robin Hood reputation of stealing from the rich to give to the relative poor, but they’re not the first and won’t be the last- they have to survive at the end of the day. It still does not sit well with me and I know it doesn’t with those with a ticket.

As far as the football goes, pick a strong team, ruthlessly finish them in the first half so we can afford the likes of Pereira, Lingard, Januzaj and Wilson some minutes.

Catch up at the weekend with my next rambling.

Enjoy the rest of your week, reds.

Rowlesy. (@RowlesPaul)

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