Following United’s 1-0 home defeat to Southampton which resulted in the Saints leapfrogging them into 3rd, it came to light that Louis van Gaal’s side have exactly the same amount of points as ex-United manager David Moyes after the same amount of games, having won one less fixture than the Scot. So, why are we as fans so content with this season’s performance?
It must first be noted that this Premier League campaign has been far from the stellar quality we have become accustomed to. Other than Chelsea, no team has really looked in ascendency in matches, which is a particular surprise for our neighbours City. With no disrespect, it is surprising to see teams like West Ham and Southampton maintain their fine form up to this point in the season, something which is refreshing to see in the modern game.
In comparison to last season, it’s could easily be said that United have made massive improvements with the Dutchman at the helm. Situated in the European spots at the start of 2015 having enjoyed a nine-game unbeaten streak previous to Sunday’s defeat, it looks as though the much-needed revolution has taken place at Old Trafford.
I am not that convinced; I would say that van Gaal has a much more positive and ‘winning’ attitude, making it clear that despite their recent form United must ‘still do better’, which is a massive improvement from Moyes’ desire to be ‘as good as City’. It was evident that the new Sociedad manager had lost the respect of the Old Trafford dressing room, with van Persie amongst many to seemingly refuse to play for him, problems which – as of yet – haven’t occurred this campaign.
Despite both managers’ results being identical at the same point in the season, the former Dutch National team’s expenditure has massively outweighed that of Moyes’. This summer’s acquisitions saw a wealth of talent with a combined worth of £150million flock to the club, including a British transfer record of £59.7million for Real Madrid talisman Angel Di Maria. Moyes’ combined spending accumulated to that, having only brought in Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata during his tenure.
But having signed such quality players over the summer period, van Gaal’s men seem to only be getting results through sheer luck. In the reverse fixture with Southampton at St. Mary’s, the Saints registered 15 shots with only one goal, whereas United managed to score from their only two attempts on target.
I spoke to former United midfielder and current MUTV presenter Paddy Crerand, who believes United’s misfortune with injuries has been one of the reasons for their poor performances: ‘The problem with united at the moment is that the manager’s not been able to pick the team that he’s wanted to pick because of all the injuries.
‘It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the manager picks the team he wants and then maybe give that team a run of games and see what happens then. They’re doing well considering the 40 plus injuries they’ve had so far.’
The Red Devils face QPR this weekend who are currently 19th in the league, if they are to solidify their position in the top four and pursue their hopes of European football next season, then fixtures such as this are a must-win.