Why Louis van Gaal May Be the Wrong Choice for Manchester United

Louis Van Gaal’s “Red Devil Revolution” might have won over the British press quickly but how is he serving as an effective custodian of Manchester United’s future? David Moyes made an effort to transition properly to the next era of Manchester United players giving Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck more time on the pitch and worked to transition the backline.

Friday, it was revealed that Danny Welbeck has been told he is free to leave the club by Van Gaal. If this is the case, Manchester United has given up on one of its best home grown players of the past decade, a player who is good enough to feature regularly for England. Yet Van Gaal using a 3-5-2 formation, which logically would require a striker that can pair with either Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney, does not see Welbeck in that role. One wonders whom he sees in this role that would be superior to Welbeck.

The decision to anoint Wayne Rooney as captain is another curious decision. Sir Alex Ferguson preferred to have the armband worn by a mature player with leadership skills and the respect of his teammates. In Rooney, Van Gaal has picked a player that openly sulks and has threatened to leave the club on multiple occasions. Rooney’s demonstrative petulance is a trademark of a player that many feel has never completely matured. No doubt exists that he is one of the very finest footballers on the planet when on his game, but his behavior and lack of leadership skills make his selection as captain truly bizarre and perhaps damaging to the manager.

Van Gaal’s insistence on using a 3-5-2 formation has been hailed by some quarters of the British press as “genius.” Yet in the first competitive match under the Dutch manager, United was opened up and torn apart by Swansea. Van Gaal often played a 4-3-3 in his previous club stints but sprung the 3-5-2 on Spain in the World Cup and has stuck with the formation all summer with both the Netherlands and now Manchester United.

But does Manchester United really need to play a 3-5-2? Only time will tell on this, but the quickness with which many in the press declared use of this formation “genius,” when previously Kenny Dalglish, Roberto Mancini, Steve Bruce and Brendan Rodgers were at various times in recent years aggressively critiqued for playing the formation, is telling.

But to play this formation, Van Gaal must upgrade the Red Devils’ defense. This has yet to happen as Marcos Rojo is the only highly-rated defender ready to feature that the club has signed this summer. Luke Shaw, despite a great season at Southampton last year, is more a signing for the future than a likely current stalwart at left back.

Meanwhile in England, Van Gaal has mesmerized large elements of the British press with his caustic press conferences and incredible degree of self-confidence.

Just three years ago Van Gaal was sacked at Bayern, following a disastrous season where Borussia Dortmund featured a number of young stars, an exciting brand of football has overtaken the Bavarian giants. When the Dutchman was sacked, club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated Bayern had “no alternative but to part company with Van Gaal.” Bayern President Uli Hoeness went even further saying “Football should be enjoyable, but there has been nothing enjoyable about football at FC Bayern for a while now.”

No doubt Bayern is a tough place to manage and the club hierarchy tends to be demanding, elitist and snobbish. But Van Gaal failed miserably in Munich just a year after reaching a Champions League final with a side that he largely inherited with the exception of the signing of Arjen Robben.

Given the longevity that Manchester United supporters expect from their managers and the club culture that demands patience and loyalty, it can be strongly argued Van Gaal might be the wrong man for the job.

In time we will know if this was simply a summer of false hope for Manchester United under a well-traveled short-term manager or the start of a new era of greatness. However, what has transpired thus far leads me to believe the former is more likely.

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17 thoughts on “Why Louis van Gaal May Be the Wrong Choice for Manchester United”

  1. I agree with most of this article, although a lot of it ive already posted in comments threads.

    Way to go Kartik, you love using my ideas. 😉

  2. He had decided to play 3-5-2 against Swansea without having the right players. Many players were injured. If everyone had been fit i think it would have worked better. Welbeck i think is a good player and works well in the formation as we saw in pre season. I dont think we should sell him, but if Di Maria is bought as it is being suggested i dont think Welbeck will get much playing time. I have more faith in Van Gaal than i ended up having in Moyes.

  3. Is this a joke Kartik?
    Moyes won his first match 4-1 and Fergie lost his first game 2nil.
    You realize that one game does not set the trend for a manager’s entire reign. 
     I can’t help but feel some sort of irony from you because you repeatedly said and wrote drivel saying Moyes fits in with the United ethos and how he’s a long term manager. LVG had 2 youngsters making premier league debuts in his first game and Moyes had none. 
    Moyes brought through one youth and that was Januzaj who’s talent is obvious to even someone with such tunnel vision like Moyes.
     On the Swansea game how were we torn apart???
    The first goal was due to Mata not tracking back and the second goal was part Blackett’s fault for giving the ball back to fast and Young’s fault for misjudging the ball. Young was playing because Shaw was injured and we had no other options because Evra wanted to go.
     Shaw came for an inflated fee but he’s a huge upgrade on Evra who’s been bad for us since 2011.
    You didn’t even stop and think hey maybe the loss of RVP, Welbeck, Shaw, Rafael, and Evans contributed to the United loss. If Shaw was playing he judges the flight of the ball correctly and Swansea don’t score the second goal.
     I have to laugh at your Bayern Munich reference being that LVG changed the set up of that team and set up that team for future glories. I guess you forgot Schwein steiger the best Central Midfielder in the game and most complete was a winger and it was LVG that changed his position when everyone thought what he was doing was madness and now look at Schweini dominating in the World Cup and for Bayern. Didn’t that same Dortmund beat your oil money propped up City team and Real Madrid in the Champions league or did they only beat LVG’s Bayern to prove your point? Lest I not forget Dortmund also beat Jupp Heynckes in his first Bayern season too or did you neglect that because it doesn’t suit your narrative?
     Your bias against Bayern all stems from the whole FFP stuff and I suggest that’s what you should write about instead of purely overreactive drivel about United. 
    Worry about City getting out of the group stage of the UCL to make last year’s qualification not seem like the fluke it really was. Write about your team’s 100% losing record in the Champions League KO Rounds instead.
    You were blowing David’s trumpet last season blow after he landed to United and now your saying LVG isn’t the right guy because he lost his first game?
    He’s promoted youth at the first chance of asking and he had another youth on the bench in Reece James.
    This age of game by game reactions is just ridiculous. If he won the first game like Moyes would you then write LVG is the real Chosen one?
    Is a manager a genius after one great tactical switch and in the next game he’s tactically inept because of poor subs?
    The whole article is a giant overreaction and the fact that it’s written by a City fan no less is just pathetic.

      1. Dear lurker:

        ABSOLUTELY!! The rebulid has begun. You buy the quality available at the time. Defence will come when the opportunity comes.

  4. You have zero credibility on this site after last season constant flip flopping. Maybe you should actually try watching some football for once.

        1. I shouldn’t have said he has zero credibility on this site simply because I can’t speak for others.

          For me though his constant weekly flip flopping last season was embarrassing at times and I know he was called out on it on several occasions. I think I’ll go with the majority of the opinions of people whi actually watch football in that LvG is the right man for us.

      1. Obviously biased. But pretending to be objective.
        Maybe taking the piss; who knows.

        Ive said a lot of the things this article says but didnt try to hide my bias.

  5. First off, I’d say trying to assess the Van Gaal “era” after two games is pretty silly. What we know so far is he’s a big change from Moyes- he is ruthless, decisive, and demanding. He also appears to have an eye for talent, young or otherwise. United was awful at Burnley but DiMaria looks like a winner. As for Cleverly and Welbeck moving on, it seems sensible- Cleverly works hard but shows little creativity and is prone to really bad tackles. And Welbeck is a terrific athlete who struggles to score goals. I’m concerned about a couple of players who are staying: what is wrong with Juan Mata ? He’s lost weight and his free kicks lack power. Is he ill ? And Jonny Evans looked lost yesterday, as though it was his first game for United.

  6. danny danny danny was never and will never be good enough to play as a first choice striker at united. there are three players ahead of him who are better. LVG has already started to cull the dross from the side and is bringing in new and better players in their spots. now united may never be able to shift the everton player but that was a moyes panic buy. ben supporting united since 77 and he’s perfect for it and the first none british manager at the club.

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