Van Gaal’s only option is to attack

Wayne Rooney, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria

Manchester United has succumbed to a second season without silverware after defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Monday. At most clubs, this might not be a big deal, where each trophy earned is cherished. The fact that United is in the midst of such tumult says much more about the club. Few clubs […]

Van Gaal set to unleash width

Angel Di Maria

Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Swansea City last weekend marked a new low in Louis van Gaal’s tenure at the club. With an unlikely hand from Liverpool, United remained in the top four, but with the Reds dangerously close to slipping out of the Champions League spots, and struggling to dispatch lower league sides, the […]

Above all a team

Louis van Gaal, Robin van Perise

Outclassed, out-passed and creatively out-imagined at home by a side struggling to break out of the relegation zone –  last Wednesday Old Trafford witnessed Sean Dyche’s Burnley outplay Manchester United in almost every way. Yet, amazingly, it was Louis van Gaal’s side that earned three points at the end of the night to leapfrog Southampton […]

Long Ball United

Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini

Strange times these. Not only is Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United side every bit as insipid as that presided over by David Moyes last season, but the Dutchman has seemingly taken on board his predecessor’s predilection for long-ball tactics. It’s in the data you know. And while statistics can tell many stories, for the moment […]

Van Gaal’s quest for balance

Louis Van Gaal

Ushered in by a chilly January, snow finally hit Manchester this week, though Manchester United finally warmed up by winning two games on the trot. The Red Devils washed off the “bitter taste” of Leicester City’s 5-3 victory last September with a thumping 3-1 at Old Trafford last Saturday. It marked the return of the […]

In defeat Van Gaal’s philosopy takes shape

Louis van Gaal

Manchester United’s performances with three at the back have rarely been good this season and the 1-0 loss to Southampton at Old Trafford at the weekend may be one poor showing too many in the formation. With Ashley Young now the only player in Louis van Gaal’s squad now injured the Dutchman has both the […]

Van Gaal’s ‘modern’ wing-backs

Ashley Young Antonio Valencia

Deploying a ‘wrong-footed’ winger is no longer a radical concept – in fact it is now fully mainstream. Wingers cut inside, vacate space for full-backs to run into, enabling attacking teams to get more bodies into the middle whilst retaining some width. Even lowly Sunderland regularly use inverted wingers these days. More interesting, perhaps, is a […]

van Gaal ushers in a brave new tactical dawn

Louis van Gaal training

While the 7-0 scoreline spoke amply to its effectiveness, it was Manchester United’s tactical complexity that astounded in Louis Van Gaal’s debut against LA Galaxy on Wednesday night. The veteran manager’s strategy was far more intricate and exotic than any employed by David Moyes’ yet the team carried out the plan with remarkable fluidly despite an […]

The new man has much to do

David Moyes, Everton

As if the season wasn’t chaotic enough for those at Old Trafford, Liverpool is set to win the Premier League for the first time, while Manchester United is in a desperate fight for Europa League qualification. Little wonder that United’s 2-0 defeat to Everton proved to be the final straw, ending David Moyes’ disastrous 10 […]