Manchester United : The Two Sides of the Van Gaal Dilemma

Manchester United had a hard fought draw against Chelsea as they were staring at a fifth consecutive defeat under the management of Louis Van Gaal a season which would equal their worst run since 1936. This may not be enough to save his job, he may even step down before the board sacks him, but Ed Woodward is in a state of ‘Dilemma’, whether to stick with the Dutchman or let him go.

But, let us go back and take a deep look into the developments that led to the situation since the departure of David Moyes.

In April of 2014 the football world witnessed a tidal wave of relief when David Moyes departed from his ill-fated tenure in Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes. Leaving with great dignity having offered the best a man with minimal experience at the top level could have.

Moyes was surely rock bottom for Manchester United. After a brief Giggs led ‘renaissance,’ Ed Woodward and the powers that be decided the next step was experience. Someone whom had done it all before (maybe even twice) and had come out swinging.

They went for a man whom had coached some huge names in football. Litmanen, the de Boer brothers, Danny Blind and a man whom is accredited with bringing the football world the best duo of midfielders the world has ever seen in tandem; Xavi and Iniesta. Manchester United hired Louis Van Gaal.

But you knew this. After a largely successful World Cup with Holland in which every baffling and eccentric tactical decision (you know I am referring to the Cillessen/Krul substitution) was heralded as genius by the United fans, seemingly transfixed by their new sweetheart, Van Gaal moved to Manchester to embark on a long road to recovery.

It did not take long for Van Gaal to set out to prove himself wrong. He has seemingly gone over his record with a highlighter pen and picked everything that makes his reputation so great and set out to do the opposite.

Suddenly the man that had mediated the great Van Der Vaart / Ibrahimovic debacle of Ajax was castrating di Maria, forcing Falcao into a system that didn’t suit him and, well, need I mention Victor Valdes?

Next to go was the play style: The ‘Total Football’ that Van Gaal had employed everywhere was abandoned for three systems that we have seen at United; each more excruciating than the last.

The horrible three-at-the-back system was ditched for the diamond long ball system which Mr Allardyce soon saw rid of leaving us with this new 4-5-1 of sideways crab football which has seen flair players whom would have thrived in the Van Gaal sides of old having their wings clipped.

Memphis has suffered; Mata is subject to being shunted about and Januzaj is off presumably on a European tour (one United aren’t having.)

This is the dilemma for Mr Woodward: He knows like the rest of us what Van Gaal is capable but Van Gaal seemingly wants a pay-off to take to his ‘paradise’ in Portugal. His retirement home. And with Jose available? Get him the retirement time piece out.

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