Louis van Gaal Updates
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Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is confident that a top four finish for the club would be enough to keep him at the club.

Louis van Gaal admits uncertainty over Manchester United future as they struggle in top four race
The belief can be considered optimistic considering the fact that the fans have not been happy with the results as well as the playing style provided by the Dutchman this campaign. A top four is certainly not good enough for a club of United's stature and on the other hand, it also effectively means that the club has not improved upon from last season.

However, LVG has a good relationship with Manchester United chairman Ed Woodward and that may play an important role with respect to his job. Earlier in the season, when results were far from expected, there were rumors that the United management were not willing to accept the resignation of the Dutchman.

However, it may be a possibility that the pressure from the fans can also play a hand in the management sacking the former Bayern Munich manager. Mourinho, although controversial, certainly guarantees more success than Van Gaal, and it may be beneficial for the club to attain that short term success to put them back as a serious contender in the Premier league.

United are currently fifth in the table and six points behind arch rivals Manchester City. However, with Tottenham , Arsenal and City looking unlikely to slip up and the in form Leicester City 12 points ahead of the Red Devils, it looks a slim chance that United may even finish in the top four.

It has been reported that Louis Van Gaal may think of quitting the United job at the end of the season in spite of his contract running till 2017. LVG had stated just a few days back that he would quit the job if he felt that he was not the right person to lead the team.

It has been reported that Louis Van Gaal may think of quitting the United job at the end of the season 
The pressure on LVG has reduced to some extent after moral boosting wins against Swansea and Liverpool. However, the draw against Newcastle states that all is not well within the squad. The playing style adopted by the Dutch manager has come under intense scrutiny in this season, considering the fact that the manager had spent enormous amount of money on new recruitments.

Those who are close to the manager feel that the United job is taking a toll on the 64 year old manager. With the United management keeping faith in the manager despite a poor run of form in December, it may be unlikely that LVG would be relieved of his job in this campaign.

To be fair, United still have a very good chance of finishing in the top four, although the title looks a long shot. Hence, the Dutchman would look to finish his job on a high after crashing out of the Champions league. There are reports that, in spite of LVG preferring Ryan Giggs, a certain Mourinho would be happy to take the role after the departure of the Dutchman.

Louis Van Gaal is still very much a part of the setup at United in the new year and this was a statement which was doubtful given their results in the last few games. The 0-0 draw at Chelsea, although goalless, was one of the most entertaining matches United have been involved in this season and offered some hope to the Old Trafford faithful.



Louis Van Gaal
LVG may hold on till the end of the season. This notion is based on the recent circumstances, where Van Gaal, not willing to resign and the United management, Woodward in particular, having faith in the Dutch manager. The draw against a regressing Chelsea did put a halt to their string of defeats but it should just be a start.

LVG stated that 2015 was a good year for United apart from December. However, the biggest positive for the club in 2015 was the qualification for the Champions League, which unfortunately only lasted till the group stages. A club of United's stature should not be fighting for a top 4 spot rather it should be fighting for the top spot. In case, this year follows the path of the dreadful December that United endured, if not the management, the pressure of the fans will surely force Van Gaal to move out and end his misery.

There was a certain belief that the match against Chelsea was open, more to the fact that the players did not feel any pressure. They have resigned to the fact that their manager may not last long in his job. There were images showing Mourinho scarves being sold outside Old Trafford ahead of the premier league game against Chelsea. In the last few days, more than the Chelsea fans, it has been the United faithful who have been singing Mourinho's name.

Football is indeed a funny sport with the same manager mocked in the year 2013 when a certain David Moyes was elected for the hot seat. Interestingly, the then chosen one and the happy one are both out of work with the latter's presence certainly make things difficult for the present United manager.

The first task of the manager in the New Year is to tackle Swansea who would be visiting Old Trafford on Saturday. The Swans have problems of their own but have been United's nemesis in recent years. Any result other than a win would surely put tremendous pressure on LVG but a victory in the style of the Old United would certainly be a shot in the arm.

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has stated that he has no intention of quitting his job at Old Trafford. The last game of the Red Devils ended in a goalless stalemate against Chelsea, which further extended Manchester United's winless streak to eight matches across all competitions.

Louis Van Gaal
However, Louis Van Gaal insisted he will not resign due to the bad spell of the club. He said that the players are under pressure, and because of that, the results may not favour the team. He also added that such bad results are not genuine reasons for him to resign.

He also took a dig at the media who, according to him, are making stupid speculations about his career.

"Maybe the media wants that, but I shall not do that", Van Gaal told BT Sports.

He also insisted that he respects his contract and do his best to fulfill it. Van Gaal did not forget to give a stern demand to the Manchester United stars, asking them to improve their game.

Manchester United are sixth in the Premier League table and have already been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. Apart from that, Van Gaal's tactics have been criticized by football pundits and media as boring.

The Manchester United manager has found an ally in Arsene Wenger after the Frenchman slammed the football media and pundits for chastising his Manchester United counterpart with 'stupid' speculations. Wenger expressed his frustration by stating it is 'disrespectful' of Man Utd fans and media.

Arsène Wenger: "I have huge respect for Louis Van Gaal and I think what is going on there is disrespectful."
LVG has come under great scrutiny after a dismal start to the season. Despite spending heavily, the Red Devils are only fifth in the Premier League table, with nine points separating them from the League toppers- Leicester City.

However, the Arsenal boss believes LVG deserves more time at Old Trafford, and demands to stop the 'disrespectful speculation' regarding the Dutchman's future.

“I personally have huge respect for Louis van Gaal and I think what’s going on there is disrespectful. This guy has worked for 30 years in football and delivered an unavailable quality of work and I think it’s a bit disrespectful what is going on there.” Arsene Wenger said.

The experienced boss also mentioned that it is difficult for managers to work with their future already decided.

Arsenal are currently second in the Premier League table and are favourites to lift the trophy in May, assuming Leicester will run-out-of-gas in some period of the competition.

Louis Van Gaal would be happy to know that he has the support of his management. One person who would definitely agree on the same would be Jose Mourinho. However, Mourinho would be the first person to admit the importance of the players being on your side. Unfortunately, LVG seems to not having that kind of luxury.

Louis van Gaal
The tactics of the United manager have been questioned all season long. The pragmatism shown by the United manager is not boding well with most of the United faithful. In fact, some weeks ago, Rooney and Carrick actually made their displeasure known to the manager with respect to his tactics on behalf of the whole team.

LVG has ignored these signs stating the success he enjoyed in the Spanish, German and Dutch league as reference. However, that confidence shown by the manager received a huge blow due to the shameful exit that United suffered from the Champions League group stage. The defeat against a well organized Wolfsburg is not a surprising result.

However, when one of your star players in the team shows displeasure at his substitution when the team is 2-1 down with a victory needed, it is a sign of worry. The substitution of Juan Mata, who assisted Martial for the first goal, coupled with the introduction of Nick Powell who has not played for the team for around 14 months, is certainly confusing. Ashley Young who has been one of the most improved players under LVG also had to be happy on the bench.

LVG may demand patience from his players and fans for his philosophy to work. However, patience is not a virtue very common in football especially with respect to the big clubs. United may not be that far from the top of the table but they are equally close to mid table as well. The one hope of LVG is the fact that the United management is clearly in support of him and he may get time until the end of the season. However, six months is a long time in football and LVG better get the results going his way sooner rather than later.

The match between Wolfsburg and United had a huge importance from the point of view of LVG's career at United. It was not the most decisive one but certainly would play a part in understanding whether Van Gaal was the man to take United forward in the coming years. The talks of LVG extending his contract beyond 2017 would surely die down after the result at Wolfsburg.

Manchester United team during their game against Wolfsburg last night
The match was one of the most entertaining games that one has witnessed in the Champions League this year. It started at a great pace with both Schurrle and Mata, with the former in particular, having a great chance to take the lead. At times, it looked like a basketball game with both the teams having chances at either ends.

However, it was United who took the lead through Martial who finished an excellent incisive pass from Mata. The goal was a not a result of passing the ball around like LVG usually prefers but quick and direct play. It showed that the manager had changed the system and finally United were more exciting. However, may be there is a reason LVG does not prefer his team to play that way.

Wolfsburg quickly equalized through a free kick and later took the lead by an excellent play by Draxler who just opened up the United defence with ease. It was just a simple tap-in for Vierinha, but the fact that Draxler was allowed to enter the box with so much ease surely might have angered LVG.

Manchester United fans react to Champions League exit
Suddenly it felt that United could only qualify if PSV lose their game against CSKA Moscow. They came out strong in the second half but again failed to take their chances. However, the equalizer did come late in the game through an own goal and United might have felt they have just done enough.

But like the earlier goal, they conceded again through a set piece and it did look like Wolfsburg just handed their Europa League ticket. The final nail in the coffin was the victory of PSV which meant United had to win this match to get through. With a dire draw against West Ham followed by a defeat of this stature, LVG has a tough task ahead. One of the striking observations that could be made was of the bench. After investing 250 million pounds in three transfer windows, one cannot expect a bench with names like Jackson and Powell in a crunch Champions League tie.

Wayne Rooney has scored only once in the Premier League so far this season but his manager is not concerned with his scoring record.

Wayne Rooney
Rooney has played well for England this season and recently broke Sir Bobby Charlton's scoring record for the national team but he has not yet performed at that level for his club this season. He got a couple of goals in the Champions League but his performances in the league have been dismal.



Rooney had backed himself to score 30 goals for the club this season but so far it looks unlikely that he will even reach double figures. Anthony Martial is now United's first choice striker and with Rooney dropping further behind, he is finding it harder to get on the scoresheet.

But Van Gaal seems to be content with his captain's performances. Van Gaal said that he doesn't care who scores as long as his team is getting goals and said that Rooney's form in front of goal is not bothering him.

He also said that Rooney is an influential character, and that he will remain in the starting eleven due to his leadership qualities.

Rooney likes to drop deep to pick up balls and it seems that he is better off being played in a no 10 role. Van Gaal also praised Rooney's versatility and said that Rooney's overall contribution to the team is more important than his scoring record.

After a poor season Manchester United had, with David Moyes during 2013/14, the fans had many questions. Who would be the new manager? Would he be another David Moyes? David Moyes seemed like a good manager but not the right manager up to Manchester United’s standards.

Manchester United official squad photo for 2014/15 season
Louis Van Gaal arrived and changed everything around. The likes of Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand left the club before the manager had the chance to introduce himself. This just showed how hard of a task he had to face already, a broken team with an inexperienced defence. Due to Louis Van Gaal managing Netherlands at the world cup last summer, it meant his work with Manchester United had to be delayed near to the end of July.

The club did spend the most money from all the Premier League teams and brought in Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao on loan. Any Manchester United fan must have been worried that the club had spent around £60m on Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind whose main positions are at LB. Personally any Manchester United fan would have been confused why Louis Van Gaal brought in 3 players who play at LB, but Marcos Rojo 2nd position is at CB and Daley Blind 2nd position is at CB but and also has a little bit of experience as a CDM.

Despite not signing a player whose main position is at CB, the table below does show Manchester United have the 4th best defence joint with Manchester City, which shows the defence wasn’t mainly at fault if they felt that they could have finished 3rd or 2nd.  But a lot can be said about how well the season went and in many games our strikers have failed to show up. Tottenham are 6th in the league compared to Manchester United who are 4th have scored 55 goals this campaign only 6 behind Manchester United, shows the strikers at the club haven’t been much of a threat as you would have expected them to be. Many fans would have expected at least 40-50 goals from Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie but they shockingly have only 26 goals between themselves.

Here's how the EPL table looks currently
At the start of the season, Louis Van Gaal brought in the 3-5-2 system which he had used in the World Cup during his time with the Netherlands. He found it difficult at the start and took him four games to win his first Premier League match. 3-5-2 didn't work for many reason first of all Manchester United do not have a world class centre back who can take the ball forward. Second off all 3-5-2 is like a defensive formation and then the wing backs are used on the counter but Manchester United philosophy is about attacking and not defending for most of the game. Another factor is that the players were introduced to the 3-5-2 very late; it meant few players had more than one role during the games and it just wasn't working for the manager and the players.

Manchester United had a pretty decent season after last year. Louis Van Gaal in his first season helped Manchester United finish Top Four despite his team having up to 70 injuries. This meant during the hard times, he had to promote the youth players as he had no other choice left. After a few months down the line Manchester United started finding some form, and did eventually go on a 10 game undefeated streak despite having one or two players injured every week in the first four months of Louis Van Gaal’s management at Manchester United. But Louis Van Gaal did find his correct tactics/formation between the end February to the first week of March. This helped them become victorious for another 5-6 games, until key players became injured again.

Everyone will expect Manchester United to be busy during the summer with many players coming and going out. Many fans would want the club to sign up to 4-5 players, personally the club need to bring in a CB, RB, CDM, CM and a ST so you could assume that the club will spend between £100m-£150m like they did last summer. Also few days ago the club had reached an agreement for Dutch winger Memphis Depay, shows that Louis Van Gaal isn't waiting for the transfer window to start and wants to buy his targets as soon as he can so they can officially join the club when the window starts in the first week of July. Will the Dutchman win the Premier League, in his second year at Manchester United?

Article contributed by: Asif

Twitter: @HerreraTekkers

A standard synopsis of Breaking Bad would say that it is the story of an ordinary chemistry teacher who, when diagnosed with lung cancer turns his entire life around for the sake of his family and his existence (eventually).

Manchester Unted [Image from flickr by Mikey]
But what’s that to do with an article on Man United?

Walter H. White was a plain, bland and ordinary character whereas Man United is as glamorous, attractive and special as they come. May be a comparison with Don Corleone and his famiglia would have been more apt but we shall keep that for some other day.

For the past few years United were showing symptoms of ill health especially in the midfield department. But the genius of Sir Alex kept them going and once he was gone, the cells lost control and the cancer surfaced. The new manager and his executive looked out of their depth, players lost their confidence, fans turned against each other. In short, last season was truly malignant for the club.

Everyone supported the new regime of David Moyes and Ed Woodward, but the latter failed the club in his first transfer window. The rumors of Fabregas/Strootman/Herrera’s stooges kept the fans on the edge but the club could only manage an unlike United signing in a Brussels born talented midfielder who was going to be played out of position to further add to the disappointment.

The manager started on a decent note but soon the frustrating performance started. Everyone hoped it was just a matter of time that the Red Devils will show their true colors but it never happened. The situation got bad to worse and eventually Moyes-out did materialize. During that sickening time, the club turned to its most adored ornament The Class of 92 (well, not all of them). It brought back the romanticism and did lift the fans but that’s that. A logical decision regarding the appointment of the new manager was required. From Klopp to Ancelloti, every name was discussed by the media and during that phase came the rumor of a Dutch trophy-magnet. Most people were skeptical as he was Tottenham bound, the new age fan-boys did not know much about him, for some others he was too old etc. But as people read about him, saw his trophy collection, his famous rants/jibes/quotes, there was a change of mood.

And thus, Louis van Gaal became the manager of the biggest club in the world.

Till this moment only United fans were raving about him (mostly out of hope), sharing articles on him, and getting ready to welcome him at Old Trafford. Little did they know that he will announce himself so emphatically at the FIFA World Cup 2014. Now, the entire world knew him and his golden willy. Prior to the start of the world cup, a respectful defeat at the hands of Brazil in the first knockout stage was their best bet according to the pun-dits. But LvG’s team proved them wrong by playing emphatically with aggression, control and yes, tactics b****h.

After the world cup, the entire footballing world turned its attention to the mad circus of transfer window. People were discussing about a £200 million kitty for transfers at United. The team lacked pace, was thin at defense and had the worst midfield in years. Woodward started negotiating with clubs and as the fans were getting impatient, he signed Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw in two days. The former should have been at Old Trafford a year earlier while the latter’s deal was said to be done even when he played against the Reds at the end of the season. Then came the lull, excuse of World cup and LvG assessing players was given. Meanwhile the ghosts of Sneijder/Fabregas were revisited in the Vidal saga. Media kept reporting that Deal was off and it was on the next day. Rivals said no world class player wants to sign for United and fans were calling for Ed’s head, but before it was too late United signed the player who won Madrid the last year’s Champions League. A truly deserving no. 7 was signed in Di Maria. Ed was not done yet and he went after the Argentine LB who featured in most people’s 2014 World cup team and he was signed after the customary third party hassle. Though LvG in one of his presser said a player can be signed in 24 hours, the fans were still worried for the defensive and midfield replenishment. Anyways the season began with Swansea coming at Old Trafford and shocking the Red Devils.

This increased the pressure on the club and in the coming weeks the signing of the versatile Greek-godly Daley Blind was finalized. Guess, it was the 24 hour signing which LvG had at his disposal. Deadline day came and fans were hoping to sign a world class CM/CB but United signed Radamel EL TIGRE Falcao in Fergie time. Deadline day was won! It really shook the footballing world because nobody saw that coming. The window also saw mass exodus of Bebé, Nani, Cleverley, Büttner, Welbeck, Chicharito, Ferdinand, Evra and the likes.

People call the new United as Gaalacticos, they say the club’s traditions are being eroded. Poor guys don’t know that a blend of world class talent and youth has always been United’s tradition (Sir Matt Busby brought Denis Law and George Best while Sir Alex also overhauled the team after his arrival).

Coming back to my dumb analogy of Breaking Bad, Lily Rothman says

“The words possess a wide variety of nuances: to ‘break bad’ can mean to ‘go wild,’ to ‘defy authority’, to be verbally ‘combative, belligerent, or threatening’ or, followed by the preposition ‘on,’ to ‘completely dominate or humiliate.’”

This is probably the best way one can describe United!

So, the stage is set, the manager is confident, the players are ready, the fans are excited and it’s time to put United where they belong…

TOP!

And at the end of it all, LvG will say “I won.”

Article contributed by: Abhinav Bhardwaj

Website/Blog: Fergies Gum

Twitter: @AngoorKhatteHai

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal has had a pretty good start with Manchester United. In his first seven games he's won three, drawn two and lost two, which has left United in fourth place. After what was an abysmal start to the season (losing 1-2 to Swansea at Old Trafford) van Gaal's men seem to be playing their best football since lifting the Premier League trophy in 2013.

However, a claim can be made to say that United really haven't been tested (bar the match against Everton which they won 2-1). In the next 5 weeks the 13 time Premier League Champions will go head to head, with 3 of last seasons top four.

After they go away to West Brom, Man Utd will host the runaway league leaders Chelsea. So far this season Chelsea have gained 19 points, from a possible 21 (2 points were dropped at the Etihad) and they don't look like they'll be losing matches anytime soon. The gap in quality between the two English giants has been increasing for a few years, and now looks wider than ever. Nothing evinces this more than the fact Chelsea are contenders for the Champions League, whereas United are hoping to qualify for that same competition next year.

Chelsea arguably pose the biggest threat out of the three, but the fixture will be the only one played at Old Trafford. There's no doubt that the 'Theater of Dreams' has lost it's fear factor, but the 75,000 that will be there, are sure to intimidate the Chelsea faithful. Diego Costa, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar and co are sure to give United their biggest test of the season so far (maybe even all season). After scoring 21 goals and only conceding 7 (not to mention being the only undefeated team in the league) many may find it very difficult to see how Man Utd will stop this Chelsea steam train.

A week later, United travel to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. City boast a record of 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss so far this season. United's record against City has been atrocious as of late, with the most recent result being a 0-3 defeat at Old Trafford preceded by a 4-1 humiliation at the Etihad. In the last six Manchester derbies in the Premier League, City have won 5 (scoring 16 in those victories) and United have recorded only a single victory in the 2-3 at the Etihad.

Again, the odds for a United win in this encounter are quite low. However, this is a derby game, the most unpredictable of all. Louis van Gaal will be relishing this match and will most certainly be looking for a result against the 'noisy neighbors'. David Moyes went into the last two derbies in such a negative fashion, but van Gaal will most probably be expected to go with a much more tactical approach, perhaps a counter attacking set up. By no means are United favorites, but the prospect of a the red side of Manchester winning would almost be fairytale-esc, which is what the Premier League is all about.

Twenty days later and United travel to the capital to face Arsenal. The FA Cup champions haven't beaten Manchester United since 1 May 2011 at the Emirates. Even during the infamous David Moyes era, United managed to record a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford and a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture against Arsenal. Neither team are at the peak of their powers and are both plagued with injuries. This match is probably the one of the three, where United will feel they can actually snatch three points.

These next three matches won't decide where any of the teams finish in the table, but United will be looking to send a message of intent to the rest of the Football world. Nevertheless, the Arsenal game is probably the most important of the three, especially since Arsenal have held that fourth spot for a few years now. United will need to take as many points as possible from the teams around the 3rd and 4th spots, if they really want to get back in the UEFA Champions League (a competition they've won 3 times before). A win against Arsenal would be doing just that.

Article contributed by: Kevin Santos

Twitter: @kevin5996

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