Manchester United Weekly Review: Depression has set in

Last Saturday’s result at Swansea has left the large majority of the support, including myself, utterly depressed. We visited a side who currently sit 9th in the league table, who have struggled for any sort of consistency since the start of the winter and who have just lost their best player. Any side mounting a serious challenge for the top four would surely have picked up the three points in South Wales on Saturday.

On a positive note our home form has been great on paper, despite not being all that pleasing on the eye. For Manchester United to have only won three away games in the league all season though then the tactics and current mentality has to be questioned, or of course in Louis Van Gaal’s case, the philosophy.


Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the defeat at The Liberty is that it was probably one of United’s better away performances of the season. United controlled large aspects of the game and a wonderful team move saw Ander Herrera add his fifth goal of the campaign. A lapse in concentration invited Swansea back into proceedings but before Jonjo Shelvey’s deflected strike it looked like only a matter of time before Louis Van Gaal’s side secured the game. For once this season perhaps Van Gaal was right, United were slightly unlucky.

The same issue was again apparent however. Despite the control of possession the Red’s again failed to make the dominance really count. Like most teams this season Swansea were more than chuffed to allow us to pass the ball harmlessly around the park, never really threatening to test Fabianski.

In the Sky bet Championship last night Brentford cruised to a 4-0 victory over Blackpool. Of course it was only Blackpool, but Brentford had forty two shots at the opposition’s goal. United couldn’t even muster more than ten at home to league 2 side Cambridge United.

The attacking mentality just doesn’t seem to be there, nor too the confidence of any of our players to just pick the ball up and test the keeper from range every now and then. This boils down to either a severe lack of individual confidence or perhaps more likely the instructions from the manager to keep hold of the ball and not waste possession. Whatever it is it’s boring anyway.

I hate to use Liverpool as an example but just look at Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Southampton on Sunday. The youngster picked up the ball and drilled it into the top corner from more than 20 yards out. Just close your eyes and imagine any United player taking that shot on at the moment, yet alone our very own so called “promising” youngster, Adnan Januzaj. Goals win games, you need to have shots to score goals, Brentford had 42 shots last night and won 4-0. Simple.

Tuesday night I watched a Barcelona side tear apart Manchester City in great envy. This City side have embarrassed us on countless occasions the past couple of seasons, and they were made to look almost pedestrian. There is no point making any real comparison between United and Barcelona at present, but the two side are completely different worlds apart. There is a long, long way to go. That is the benchmark Manchester United Football Club should be aiming for however.


The encouraging aspect for our fight for Europe is the fact we do in fact sit fourth. Liverpool play Manchester City on the weekend so there is the opportunity to gain points there and we can pray that the distraction of Europe for both Spurs and Liverpool may at least play some part in us dragging ourselves across the line.

Our upcoming fixtures are a huge worry however, games against Tottenham and Manchester City as well as trips to Stamford Bridge and Anfield could make for horrendous viewing. Hopefully the players can raise themselves for these encounters otherwise the current performances would lead to suggest any push for a top four position could be categorically de-railed.

Sunderland at home on Sunday presents a game where three points is a necessity. The Black Cats have drawn 13 league games already this season and will come to Old Trafford fully aware that if they sit behind the ball and frustrate United then they have every chance of walking away with yet another point. If United are serious about finishing in Europe then here is the ideal opportunity to adapt to the circumstances and chance the mentality.

An away trip to St James’s Park then follows. With the fixtures ahead then another three points is a necessity in my eyes. Newcastle look average at best since the departure of Alan Pardew so if the Red’s cannot collect three points here then it will be hard to see where the next away win will come from. Newcastle will raise their game; it’s their cup final of course, but no more excuses.

Some sections of the support would be more than happy to see the back of Louis Van Gaal right now I’m sure of it, but the large majority including myself understand that despite these concerns we have to stick with the 63-year-old. My optimism goes right through to the summer. If he can bring in a ball winning midfielder and a couple of defenders he actually trusts then he might well have the confidence to allow United to play that attacking game we all crave.


For now we have to understand that the Dutchman has made United largely difficult to beat on the whole and has given us have the fourth best defensive record in the league despite possessing defenders who are average at best. Last season don’t forget United were giving goals away for fun.

At present though this is quite simply not Manchester United. The quality of football has to improve or the Red’s will not make the top four. Things need to change this Saturday otherwise Sunderland will drive away from Old Trafford with a point in the bag having watched United pass the ball around in content for ninety minutes.

 

11 Comments

  1. If United won’t play attacking football they will not win. LVG has the wrong plan for United he won’t play attacking football preferring possession over attack… United won’t win with LVG.

  2. United fans cannot even take much solace from seeing the scousers and Spurs knocked out of Europe, shortly to be followed by Arsenal. Our rivals’ European distractions are now gone.

    The business end of the season is approaching and unless van Gaal can raise the spirits and the performance of his team, then it will be a tough couple of months for United fans to endure.

  3. I understand that Man Utd are suppose to be in a transformational period. After all LVG is experimenting which is puzzling I know and the season is not over as yet. I am Swansea Jack and I believe Man Utd will be that four team to enter into Europe next season. If it happens then it could be a good platform to push on for better things. However, I think it is a little harsh to criticise LVG at this point in time. The Swans were back to full strength on Saturday having so many either away or on the injury list and hence the bad run. You have to gave Monk credit because he changed his usual style of the Swansea way to place and flooded them midfield. Even though Man Utd had most of the possession in that second half they only managed one solidity shot on goal. The Swans got the tactics right in achieving this task against one of the greatest football teams in the world. The Swans made changes to hopefully stop Man Utd 15 match unbeaten run (2 in 20). They had to do something because they respected Man Utd. LGV has been manager since the summer and Sir Alex didn’t have a very great beginning of him managerial career at Utd. It has come to the point where the Utd expect success because under Sir Alex they became accustom to it. However, Sir Alex was a very unique manager and no other will ever achieve what he has. There are 20 clubs in the premier league which happens to be the best in the world, and all of them are seeking to be successful. They are not going to lie down and role over because it’s Man Utd because they have set the standard over the past 25 years and more. Not paying those other club respect will result in unexpected surprise as it always does. Give LVG time and get behind him because those who do not are doing a disservice to Man Utd who actually choose LVG for the job because they believe he was the man, who happens to have Sir Alex backing too! The fans expected to much from the last manager because he didn’t bring immediate success. I’m sure if you are patience LVG will bring that success you so desire. It doesn’t happen over nigh, ask Sir Alex!

  4. Open Letter To Mr Louis Van Gaal

    Here are the few changes you need to bring immediately to change things at united .Believe me , you must not be a genius to realize that.

    (1) change the playing style , play quick ,aggressive and rapid football . Don’t waste time with passing so much useless ball
    (2) always play 4 – 4 -2 , basic same as alex Ferguson , no place for falcao + van persia
    (3) De Gea
    smalling – rojo – jones – shaw
    valencia – blind – fellani -di maria
    mata
    Rooney
    (4) instruction should be given to di maria to play the same way he used to play at real madrid. Valencia must do the same at the right side.
    (5) both wingers must be given freedom to dribble , play with pace and penetrate , players like blind , felani and mata must ensure good connectivity to alow Rooney to score .

  5. I despair that even some fans have supported the inclusion of Fellaini over Juan Mata, what has happened to the MU tradition of EXPECTING quality exciting football. If our tactics for plan B when A fails (which it does most games) is a long ball to Fellaini then we aspiring to the likes of Stoke (no disrespect intended) What the F**k has happened to us ….LVG is continuing with the philosophy of Moyes but with ‘slightly’ better results,,,, that is setting up not to lose rather than going out to win, which has proven successful for us over the years. Our success or failure for this season is on the cusp and with the run in we have and the team wavering like a house of cards with a shaky foundation,,, I fear the worst unless something changes.

  6. Open Letter To Mr Louis Van Gaal

    Here are the few changes you need to bring immediately to change things at united .Believe me , you must not be a genius to realize that.

    (1) change the playing style , play quick ,aggressive and rapid football . Don’t waste time with passing so much useless ball
    (2) always play 4 – 4 -2 , basic same as alex Ferguson , no place for falcao + van persia
    (3) De Gea
    smalling – rojo – jones – shaw
    valencia – blind – fellani -di maria
    mata
    Rooney
    (4) instruction should be given to di maria to play the same way he used to play at real madrid. Valencia must do the same on the right side.
    (5) both wingers must be given freedom to dribble , play with pace and penetrate , players like blind , felani and mata must ensure good connectivity to alow Rooney to score .

  7. The long ball to Fellaini option should not be ‘plan B’ but ‘plan D’ at best. That means it should be the option of last resort. However, van Gaal has turned it into the plan of first resort if things are not working.

    When Swansea scored their second goal after 75 mins against the run of play, van Gaal went long ball to Fellaini with fully 15 mins plus add on still to go. That was panic mode. It was shameful and an insult to the United way. Hoofing long ball is what you do when there is a couple of minutes to go not when there is the best part of 20 minutes left.

    Given the talent at his disposal, van Gaal has made an absolute mess of things.

  8. Who cares about the rubbish you all are saying you are all not exposed about football last three seasons of Alex was worse than even moyes’s tenure how much more van gaal and they players who are doing great you all r the problem we have ungrateful fools but know this all of u haters God will c van gaal n the players through n at the end of the season God will be glorified in Jesus Christ name amen and all will be filled with shame We v Jesus so you all can knock your heads on the wall Jesus is king for ever

  9. You all can be depressed as much you all want the entire team v joy cos Jesus is with us n we trust God only n He will not let us down in Jesus name amen

  10. King Louis is not alone as a manager that has created a possession team,most at the top of the table pass the ball sideways and back alot of the time,Arenal and especially Tottenham, no penetration without Kane.The thing is after Young,s rejuvination in the second half at Preston,Young,s reward against Swansea was the bench for the first half and then it did,nt work out.The philosophy looks decidedly defensiv possession careful football.United,s defence is,nt good enough to play open counter attack .VG,s fault and the midfield and forwards are just not quick enough plus players are played out of their natural talent position.United need at least a manager to waken them up on the sideline when it,s not working instead of jotting down notes for the next lame performace.

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