Manchester United have now spent two seasons following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and things look no where near what the legendary Scotsman had managed to build during his 26 years at the helm. Cut to reality, Louis Van Gaal has tried to implement his philosophies, which at times look absolutely perfect but often flatters to deceive even the purest of Old Trafford faithfuls.
So far this season, Manchester United have shown a degree of stability with their results, which was largely missing, last season. Despite the results, conviction and a degree of assurance is still lacking from Louis Van Gaal’s side. Many have slashed the Dutchman for spending too much and yet not finding the balance to his team, which was imperative after last season’s woes.
Much to his credit, Van Gaal has brought in the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian to the club, who have indeed contributed in some way or the other in carrying United’s season forward. However, the biggest dose of credit that Van Gaal deserves is for backing the untried and untrusted Anthony Martial, who has become undroppable after just 5 appearances for the club.
As things stand, United are third in the table and look safe in Champions League group stages after their win over Wolfsburg. What has jolted their formidable start to the season has been the 3-0 humiliating loss to Arsenal, which has brought back the doubts concerning United’s defense and pedestrian forward play.
If not for that loss, many had tipped United to be the title contenders this season. Because of that one loss, it would be premature to write them off completely. As they have shown this season, they are well equipped to getting the results against teams below them and perhaps that is where their season will be decided. Van Gaal must admit that, against better teams he will not get away by playing Schweinsteiger and Carrick in midfield, he will need the legs and strength of Schneiderlin to break things.
Coming few weeks will be crucial in understanding Manchester United’s real worth this season. Matches against Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea will tell us exactly how far The Red Devils have progressed from last season, if at all. Results against the bigger teams might not be the only point of evaluation teams but it sure does tell us about their aspirations and capabilities.
Moving forward this season, United manager will have to use his squad rotation in a way that he gets the best out of Herrera, Martial and Schneiderlin as they will be the key men who would eventually decide how Manchester United fair this season.
Verdict – Title hopes this season of any sort would be highly optimistic for Manchester United and their fans. At best, they should look to finish in top two of Premier League and reach quarter finals of the cup competition and from there on, it is anybody’s game and on their day, United are well capable of beating any side in the world, given they have the right squad balance and right personnel out on the pitch.
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