Manchester united have always been renowned for their fast, dynamic , destructive and attacking football using extreme width and taking extreme risks. This gave the fans excitement, joy and happiness to watch there team not just win but win with style and win with purpose.
As for Louis van gaal (LVG) his model of play or his 'philosophy' seems to be based on slow, short narrow football with lack of risk and an air of cation at all times the total opposite to that of Sir Alex or the Busby babes era. Although Man united have been on a 19 game unbeaten streak the performances have been less than impressive and they have been lucky to scrape results at times.
Van gaal seems to be set on using narrow formations in order to cram the midfield to enable the players to hold the ball easier.That's the reason why he is so obsessively persistent with the 3-5-2 which in my opinion does not suit the defensive make-up of the Man united defense.
Postives for LVG
- Herrera - I believe this guy will become a top midfield player you have to remember he's still young and developing which means he will have the odd bad game but his positional sense both from an attacking and defensive sense is improving game by game as show by his goal against Swansea.
- Winning mentality is still there- Manchester united under LVG still have that burning desire to win football matches its as simple as that. This is 100% due to the personnel as the determination to win and the professionalism of the players was already instilled by Sir Alex.
- David De gea- If it wasn't for this guy i highly doubt Manchester united would be in the top 4 of the premier league he has improved so much and makes great save after great save week in week out.
- Possession numbers- Manchester united have never really been possession orientated but are used to having high numbers of possession due to the quality of the team. This season under LVG Man united have exceeded possession numbers and passing statistics but have failed to create those number into shots,chances and most importantly goals.
- Tactical flexiblity- If its one thing LVG doesnt lack is cofidence in himdelf and his knowledge of tactics. He can easily change shapes and styles when its suit him or his 'philosophy' which is great for certain match situations.
Negatives for LVG
- Position off Rooney- LVG has been using Rooney in midfield probably due to his trust of him, experience and adaptiblity but Wayne Rooney he is not a midfielder he is a striker who wants to score goals and can create goals by dropping of the front where he more comfortable.
- Persistent use of the long ball to Fellaini - Every game where man united are struggling for goals there plan is just to lump it long to Fellaini. This is Manchester United they can be relying on this way of playing every game when it all goes wrong. Teams are also wising up to this and setting up to defend this which makes it less effective.
- Obsession with narrow formation- He has an obsession with possession and bodies in the midfield when at times all is needed is more width which is another reason why man united aren't scoring as many goals.
- Lack of risk - LVG seems to have restricted his players from shooting, crossing or making direct passes if absolutely necessary which makes it harder to over turn the opposition but increases possession numbers. We saw this with Paddy Mcnair who played at right back he was instructed by LVG to not cross the ball which was very obvious as he kept on cutting inside or passing the ball inside rather than crossing the ball.
- Falcoa and Van persie off form- Van persie for me has been inexcusable i believe he is declining as a player and he has criticized the style of play i just believe he is declining. As for Falcoa he has had serious injuries, he's at a new club where the pressure is on but i believe if he is given a run of games he will start scoring. Falcoa even though he has not scored much he's assisted and showed signs of him working hard as for Van persie i cant defend him.
Its not enough for a Manchester united team to just scrape through games 1-0 1-1 2-1 etc and its not enough for a huge club like Man united to just accept poor performances because if you strive for the better performances the results will come. On the other hand the play style that LVG wants to create does not suit the current crop of man united players they want to attack in a more fast and dynamic way so if van gaal is going to persist with his philosophy he must be prepared to strengthen in the summer and get rid of players not suited to his philosophy.