How Manchester United Can Still Challenge For The Title

Posted: December 22, 2015 in Football, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , , , , ,


If United are to turn their slight improvement from Moyes to van Gaal, domestically anyway, into a title challenging season there is still a way this can be achieved. However, a few things need to be done.

Louis van Gaal needs to go. It is fairly obvious that the players, whilst denying any problems with him, don’t like what he asks them to do on the pitch. It would be a different story if they were winning games and scoring goals, but they are not.

Playing Anthony Martial on the wing, for example, is bad enough, but ordering him to stay there, without the freedom to join the attack in the middle is ridiculous.

Continuously selecting a well below par Wayne Rooney because, “he is my captain and deserves special privileges”, has got to the stage where other teams are hoping this continues because they then play a United side already down to ten men.

These two situations alone prove to me that van Gaal should be in his villa in Portugal.

So move Martial back to centre forward and sell Rooney. Those are the first things that need to be done by the new manager.

In January the purchase of a world class striker is a priority. I accept that there are not many who will want to leave Champion’s League clubs to play for a team in the Europa League, but it should only be for the remainder of this season. Edinson Cavani, for example, would appear to be available for the right money. Alexandre Pato also wants to go to England, although I am not sure that he fits the “world class” description.

Another requirement is a world class centre back. Phil Jones is injury prone and, when he does play, is inconsistent. Mike Smalling is in danger of becoming Chris Smalling again, although he is carrying the defence at present. Marcos Rojo is the Argentinian version of Phil Jones. Daley Blind is a defensive midfielder, not a centre back. So somebody like Mats Hummels needs to be brought in to try and bring some stability to the defence.

Playing ageing wingers as wing backs does not work. Cover for Luke Shaw AND Matteo Darmian is required. I read that Ashley Young is surprised that he hasn’t played more games. Well Ashley, if a couple of decent signings are made you will be lucky to make the bench.

Where I have to admit that United seem to be OK for bodies is in midfield but again, why start Carrick AND Schweinsteiger in the same match? One should be replacing the other after an hour or so. What’s the point of having players like Schneiderlin and Herrera if they can’t get in the team ahead of two old men?

Manchester United should be pushing on this season. Having spent nearly £300 million on new recruits in the summer, fifth place and already out of the Champion’s League, (and even the Capital One Cup, at home to a Championship side), is nowhere near good enough.

It’s alright all the pro-van Gaal people saying that he is giving youth a chance and the future looks bright, but what about now? He is only giving youth a chance, in the main, because he doesn’t have a choice through injuries. As for the future, well he won’t be around for much of it even if he sees out his contract so why is he bothered about what happens in two or three years time? The short answer is, he isn’t.

Giving Moyes a seven year contract was an example of how naive Ed Woodward is. He really thought that a new dynasty would be built which, unfortunately, does not happen nowadays.

Giving van Gaal a three year contract was a little naive. He hadn’t proven anything for a number of years. In fact his last trophy of any note was the Bundesliga title in 2010, so he had gone five years without winning anything important. Based on this alone, a two year contract would have been sufficient.

I am convinced that there is not much wrong with United and that a new manager and a couple of additional players would turn them into a top team again. It needs to happen soon though, otherwise the slide may be irreversible.

  1. RedMe says:

    I wish I could share your enthusiasm, but a) I don’t think the board will dispose of LVG and b) if he stays we will be playing with 10 men like you say for the rest of the season. Now you don’t win the league with 10 men every game. If LVG went because we lost against Stoke and Chelsea, we need the new manager to perform miracles because we would be so many points behind that it probably would be impossible. And most important I can’t feel in the players the love for the club and the pride to play for Manchester United with just a couple of exceptions. There is also the slight chance that De Gea could go in January if he is not happy and Madrid meet his buy-out clause.


  2. Olu Oguns says:

    Your were doing ok with the article up until the last 2 paragraphs. What self respecting manager will sign a 2 year contract let alone one that came with a CV like Van Gaal did. Not unless it was an extension of a previous deal it is not going to happen in the current climate.

    Secondly you saying “Van Gaal hasn’t won anything of note since 2010” is outrightly disingenuous and taking liberty with the truth. You failed to mention the fact that he has only managed 2 full season of club football since the champion’s league loss to Inter Milan in in 2010, and another 2 having a wonderful qualification run to the 2014 World Cup where he finished 3rd.

    Yes he is under archiving with this United squad. Herrera and Schneiderline should be guaranteed a starting place on the team by now and should not be missing games unless the are shot in the head minutes before a game. Otherwise roll them onto the field and play them. I believe if these 2 box to box dynamic midfielders have been allowed to form a partnership this season with 15 or so games behind them the United midfield will be buzzing right now.


    • I don’t disagree with you Olu but, if a manager wants to coach Manchester United and the contract on offer is for two years, I think he will sign it, then prove he deserves an extension.
      As far as van Gaal not winning anything goes. I am not saying that necessarily makes him a failure, I am saying that, whatever the reasons, he got out of the habit of winning trophies and it’s a hard one to get back into, as he is finding out. Thanks for the comments.


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