Assessing Van Gaal’s First Game In Charge At Man United


Most Manchester United fans were hoping that Louis van Gaal would bring in a new era and they could instantly forget the David Moyes tenure of last season.

But unfortunately for the United faithful, they might have a new manager but the side still seem to have the same frailties.

Last term United dropped far too many points at Old Trafford. Starting this campaign with a home defeat to Swansea City, really wasn’t what the ‘Red Devils’ were wanting or expecting.

The three man defence that started the game; Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and twenty year old Tyler Blackett looked a fragile unit. They improved slightly in the second-half when Van Gaal reverted back to a 4-4-2.

A strong and experienced centre-half is needed. A leader that can come in and make the others around him better.

They were also exposed on the flanks with attacking wingers filling in as wingbacks. It wasn’t a coincidence that Swansea’s goals came from United’s left. Blackett and Ashley Young weren’t comfortable in those areas.

Swansea’s Wilfred Bony and then Bafetimi Gomis worked to their strengths and caused the United defence plenty of problems.

As we all knew beforehand, Man Utd have lacked a powerful force in the central midfield position for a while now. Someone to marshall in front of the defence. Anyone who has seen Ki Sung-Yueng know he’s a danger at the edge of the box, yet no one in the United midfield was anywhere near him when he struck the opening goal.

Juan Mata is great when he finds space or delivers his first goal but he feels to press and that could be a key component in Van Gaal’s tactics. The Spaniard needs to get more involved.

Players like Nani and Young have never been consistent at Old Trafford. They wont get better as wingbacks. So the quicker Rafael and Luke Shaw get back the better. Plus signing another full-back could be a priority if Louis keeps playing 3-5-2.

Another key element to Van Gaal’s style is keeping possession. It would have been alarming for the Dutchman to watch his players give away the ball as much as they did against Swansea City.

Ander Herrara looks a neat player, so that will be seen as bonus but he’ll need time to settle in to life in England. Darren Fletcher still seems rusty when it comes to competitive football and that showed throughout the match.

Fair play to Swansea and Gary Monk by the way. He got his tactics spot on and spoiled it for United. They worked well as a unit and after they conceded their equaliser, they lose their heads and did well finding the winner.

Today’s display showed Van Gaal that he needs more personnel and in key areas. The side looked to pedestrian at times and they will get a kick up their collective arses to improve on that.

A lot of questions have to be asked of Edward Woodward too. They needed more than two new signings for this game and like last preseason he has differed and it has cost them points. He also needs to start shipping out more deadwood squad players.

It’ll be interesting to see how Man United recover for the Sunderland game next weekend but one thing is for sure if they don’t get in new recruits then this season could be another long one for them. Nothing in todays game showed that the red side of Manchester have regained their passion and pride.

But alas it is only the first game of the season. Remember David Moyes won his opening EPL fixture, beating Swansea 4-1. Things can still change dramatically!

One Response to “Assessing Van Gaal’s First Game In Charge At Man United”

  1. Sorry Man-U. I got dispirited but I know its the first game. Still have hopes. LVG has seen & discovered where the rain will start beating him. l believe he will improve. Lets them have spirit & play as a team.
    Enjoy the rest of the season.


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