The start of 2014 was awful for Manchester United. Now its a bit of deja vu in 2015 as the reds of Manchester have basically stunk out the place in all their matches this year – apart from a short period in the game at QPR in a 0-2 victory. They have just played out a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup at Cambridge United and anyone who saw the game will tell you that did not flatter the League 2 side at all. You would think that the replay will be a formality but on their current run of performances the 11 time FA Cup winners cannot guarantee anything. Their last decent performance was in a draw against Tottenham Hotspur on December 28th – and in each of the following games the team that Louis Van Gaal has put out have performed poorly – Stoke were the better team on New Years Day, Yeovil had opportunities until an Ander Herrara wonder goal deflated the League 1 Somerset team, then a shocking home performance against Southampton (no shots on target), a trip to Loftus Road followed and a win after a poor first half and now they go to a team 76 places below them in the league pyramid and cannot even score a goal against them – alarm bells ringing surely for their Dutch boss.
The main worry for the team and fans is the complete lack of creativity in the team – it is an open secret that there are problems with Manchester United’s defence but with players such as Rooney, Di Maria, Mata, Herrara, Falcao, Van Persie, Januzaj you would expect them to at least be trying to outscore teams if needed but their paltry return of 22 goals in their last 15 games is a very poor return. The favoured 3-5-2 system being used by the ‘Iron Tulip’ is not pleasing the fans as their play is very slow, ponderous and predictable especially as having a lot of possession does not guarantee winning your matches whatever LVG says about controlling a match. There is no doubt Mr Van Gaal is a very good football manager – his record of trophy wins is excellent – but any manager has to be winning matches let alone the boss of one of the biggest teams in the world and that’s not even mentioning the traditions of the club in expecting entertaining attacking football.
Questions are now being asked of the Dutchman and his so far easy ride (ask David Moyes about that) from people outside the club has increasing come to a halt as 2015 has gone on. All teams go through dips and we will now see how good a manager LVG really is (the response to adversity always a telling fact) as the snipers are out and in this country they will keep on firing until results and performances improve. It is funny how football works – despite average performances and a dreadful injury record United managed to win six league games in a row in November and December, now when the manager has a much better situation in regards to injuries the team has struggled which makes me think that he does not know what his best team or formation is which is a huge worry coming into the crunch time of the season – especially as there is a bunfight for (most likely) two of the top four places – with six teams well in contention. Furthermore in a season where the 20 times top flight champions have had minimal midweek distractions throughout the season what has been going on in training as the time is surely there for the players to understand the so called ‘LVG Philosophy’.
Now United’s latest insipid performance was in the FA Cup, a trophy I’m sure, actually I have no doubt in fact that all the fans, players and manager want to win. However lets be honest the key (and priority) to the Red Devils season is finishing at least 4th in the Premier League and qualifying for next seasons Champions League. With the money they have lost from not qualifying this year, the debt accrued by the club and the 150 million plus they spent in the summer (210m+ since August 2013) another season out of Europe’s premier cup competition may have serious consequences – not least major players wanting out (even if they didn’t the huge wages some are on would still have to be paid). The next few months are crucial and any slip ups will provoke a lot of interest and column inches – interesting times ahead at the Theatre of Dreams.
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