Balance Back At Van Gaal’s Man United


It looks like Manchester United are back on a track and that can see them progressing from the mediocre performances they’ve seen so far in 2014. New manager Louis van Gaal has finally fielded a balanced side and reaped the rewards.

Against QPR, United looked far superior than they have in their previous three winless games this season.

A big part of that was down to the enhanced playing pool of players the Dutchman had at his disposal.

The returns of Rafael and Ander Herrera were very timely. Plus the arrivals of Angel Di Maria, Danny Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao have brought in experience and a feel good factor.

Watching Herrera score yesterday was a bit like going back in time and watching Paul Scholes scoring at Old Trafford. He drilled in his strike from the edge of the box after a cut-back from captain Wayne Rooney. It was a composed and tidy finish and those two words summed up the twenty-five year Spaniards all round performance too.

Man of the match was record signing Angel Di Maria. He seemed to relish being the main man at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. United have lacked his dynamic energy. His ability to run at defences and provide passes for the front two will frighten most defences in the English Premier League. His superb performance was capped with a goal.

Fellow Argentine Marcos Rojo settled in well at left-back on his debut. He was able to cover in for his centre-backs when needed and also got forward when he could to add an extra dimension to attacks. It will be interesting to see if Rojo plays more as a full-back or a centre-back during the campaign. Also it has to be noted that he’ll face stronger tests against the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City.

Danny Blind was the much needed anchor in midfield. He broke up QPR’s attacks, marshalling in front of his defence. He was intelligent when on the ball, constantly finding creative partners. Again it will be interesting to see how the Dutch internationalist copes against sterner opposition and if the other more attack minded midfielders can help out defensively when needed.

But the main improvement came with Van Gaal’s change in tactics. The 4-4-2 diamond formation was much easier on the eye than the 3-5-2 we had seen so far. Obviously the new personnel helps as they can fit into the 4-4-2 formation. Blind in particular as they needed a player that can get in amongst it, win the ball and provide security.

At the back the defence looked tighter with four. Tyler Blackett probably had his best game in a United shirt and looked capable beside Jonny Evans. With a three man defence the team looked vulnerable and weak. That wasn’t the case yesterday.

Up top, Man Utd look exciting with Juan Mata, Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Rooney interchangeable in the three forward roles. Falcao needs time to settle but as soon as he gets on the scoring sheet he’ll be fine.


Things should only improve as more and more experience and talent come back from injuries.

Now this weekend showed what could be for Manchester United. They looked threatening, secure and intimidating. But lets face it, QPR are still finding there feet in their own new system. But if Van Gaal and his players can produce a similar tempo against the bigger, more established sides then maybe just maybe they can fight back into the top four.

A championship winning side? I think that will be a step too far this term but at least they are taking a step in the right direction.

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