Confused. That’s the word to best describe the majority of Manchester United fans at the moment.
12 wins, 3 defeats & 5 draws in the last 20 matches does not seem too bad. But that does not paint the complete picture. We have rarely been convincing and this was supposedly the easier run of fixtures. The hard test starts now: Spurs (H), Liverpool (A), Aston Villa (H), Manchester City (H), Chelsea (A) and Everton (A).
Albeit daunting, this fixture list would have been termed as exciting under the golden Fergie era. But that era is unfortunately over – and so is the excitement. Let’s not kid ourselves.
The fixtures on the horizon are downright frightening. Looking at our current form, it’s not too farfetched to have a dreary scenario of 7 defeats in last 26 games by the end of April.
But how did it come to this? Unlike David Moyes, Louis van Gaal has pedigree and experience of winning top honours in the game. After joining United, he also has had more time and resources at his disposal compared to his fateful predecessor.
‘King Louis’ did begin with a horror injury list, although since December he has practically had his entire squad at his disposal. Van Gaal surely would have been expected to settle down on his formation and first team by now but that has not happened. On the other hand, can anyone, including van Gaal, guess his favourite starting eleven? No. Then, he seems to be as confused as an average Manchester United fan around the globe.
It’s hilarious to even think that van Gaal would mend his tactics for anyone except his whims but after the utter failure of the 3-5-2, midfield diamond and other PlayStation/Xbox (as we know it) formations, tactics and personnel, reverting to a tried & tested 4-4-1-1 for the Spurs game does sound appealing and appeasing to the fans.
In what may well be his last chance at United, use Radamel Falcao up front with Wayne Rooney sitting behind him. With Di Maria suspended, Januzaj and Young should have the license to bombard forward on either flanks with Rafael Da Silva and Luke Shaw supporting them.
Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in the the heart of midfield with Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling and David de Gea form the defensive triumvirate. This way, he would keep the fans happy, while buying some time and patience from his current employers. He has tried virtually everything else, then why not this?
So it’s back to the drawing board for van Gaal. For the greater good of Manchester United.