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Is Van Gaal Destined For The Sack?


Manchester United, after heedlessly splashing £250 million on transfers under Louis van Gaal, were unbelievably yet so predictability outplayed and soundly beaten by newly-promoted side Norwich at Old Trafford; sparking interrogation of whether The Dutchman will be relieved of his duties as head coach. 

The unfortunate injuries of pivotal first-team players has filled Van Gaal, 64, with evident frustration but also unjustifiable excuses as his team suffered a third straight defeat in all competitions. 

The Red Devils have failed to secure victory for almost a whole month since toppling Watford on November 21 but following that, results for Van Gaal's team turned extremely sour. Three consecutive draws, firstly a stalemate at home to PSV provoked questioning, sealing a point at Leicester was unconvincing but restored confidence, however another lackluster performance saw United drop points to West Ham at Old Trafford in a 0-0 stalemate. 

Then, regarded as the biggest and most essential match of his Manchester United career against Wolfsburg, Louis van Gaal's side initially took the lead but amateurish defending would enable The Germans to eventually take the lead.

Mysterious substitutions and tactical decisions including the baffling positioning of Marouane Fellani and introduction of Nick Powell in search of an equaliser did Van Gaal no favours as United were sent crashing out of the prestigious Champions League and demoted to the dreaded Europa League.

The task of obtaining European football once again for Manchester United was thankfully achieved, but The Dutchman's failure in the competition itself triggered sincere alarm bells and understandable calls for the sack.

As expected, Van Gaal remained in charge after his team's Champions League exit and though United were hindered with injuries to pivotal players, results continued to turn sour as The Red Devils suffered back-to-back defeats to two newly-promoted sides - Bournemouth away and Norwich at home. 

This, of course, further underlined Manchester United frailties, failure in implementing shades of the 'philosophy' into matches and ultimately, hammered one of very few nails remaining in the coffin for Louis van Gaal's career. 


Louis van Gaal splashed out a quarter of a billion but his players have found abstruse in adapting to his philosophy and is yet to win a competitive trophy. 

Following the torrid era of David Moyes which saw United disastrously finish 7th - the worst position in the last 24 years - and also miss out on Champions League and even Europa League, Van Gaal's objective was to stabilise the club and obtain European football once again. 

Despite retaining experienced leaders Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra during the Moyes reign, United's defending throughout the 13/14 campaign was amateurish. It cost them points and amateurish, places in the league. 

After his first season as manager, Van Gaal vastly improved the back line but that would eventually be a factor in United's downfall. They maintained a solid defensive frame and implemented a possession style of play, however prioritising a defensive game ultimately resulted in a strict and functional form of attacking which saw strikers suffer. 

Wayne Rooney's poor form is in no way excusable, but there are reasonable arguments suggesting it stemmed from the nonsensical philosophy that Louis van Gaal naively believes in. 

The slow, methodical sideways and backwards passing disables attacker involvement as the functional system systematically breaks teams down. Even the signing of Anthony Martial has failed to truly ignite the old attacking days at United, despite his consolation goal at Norwich and signs of promise elsewhere. 

However, attacking isn't the only concern anymore. The Red Devils have scored in their last three matches; two against Wolfsburg, one away at Bournemouth and one versus Norwich. Ever since fans and experts clearly called for a more attacking output, the initial defensive frame has turned to dust. 

Ashley Young was operating at centre-back against Norwich; that is by no means his fault. It's Louis van Gaal's fault for failing to acquire stronger defensive back-up in the summer. The Canaries were gifted free time and space to pick their passes and slot the strikers in behind. Cameron Jerome swiftly charged past defenders to maneuver himself one-on-one with David De Gea, whose unorthodox attempted save backfired, and the ball was rifled home. 

For the second goal, Alexander Tettey squeezed in between Chris Smalling and Ashley Young to move into a one-on-one situation. A lack of tightness and urgency to even try and win the ball was apparent; Smalling and Young watched on as De Gea stood helplessly in goal failing to even move a muscle. 

Not only is the philosophy boring and functional, but results have turned extremely sour. Manchester United are without a win since November 21 when they merely scraped a win at newly-promoted side Watford. 


Louis van Gaal is rightfully and as unexpectedly favoured by the bookmakers to be the next manager sacked in the Premier League. The dismissal of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea has opened another option for United, who may not stick with Van Gaal in the coming months. 

After his sacking, Mourinho ruled out a sabbatical and wishes to manager another English club straightaway. Coincidentally, the timing couldn't possibly be better to wave goodbye to Louis van Gaal and welcome Jose Mourinho with open arms at Old Trafford. 

Still, after 19 months, people are still baffled as to what Van Gaal's philosophy genuinely is. He is unpredictable and stubborn - both in negative ways. The Dutchman knows himself the pressure is mounting, but shows no act of retaliation to the critics and results continue to go sour. 

Many feel Van Gaal's style of football is outdated in the modern game, which would be a struggle to disagree with. His method of management doesn't suit United, who are accustomed to fast, attacking football of that under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Van Gaal stabilised the club following the mess left by David Moyes - but what more can he do? He has spent a quarter of a billion already and while the wait for a competitive trophy continues, he may not have the chance to secure one. 

According to a reliable German TV show and French News Station, Pep Guardiola will depart Bayern Munich at the end of the season to manage Manchester City, who are of course, without patronizing, the fierce rivals of United. Carlo Ancelotti is the favourite to succeed Guardiola at Bayern, thus cancelling out the possibility of of the former Real Madrid boss of landing the hot seat at Old Trafford. 

This leaves Manchester United in one tricky situation. They can take another massive gamble and give Van Gaal more funds in January, or they sack him and appoint Jose Mourinho. It would be dangerous pinning time and hope on Pep Guardiola's availability, so United must act quickly and decide their own fate. 

With the tempting prospect of appointing Jose Mourinho the new manager and beginning a new era before the opportunity to invest in January, will Manchester United seize the opportunity or will faith continue to be restored in the reign of Louis van Gaal? 


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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport: Is Van Gaal Destined For The Sack?
Is Van Gaal Destined For The Sack?
Manchester United, after heedlessly splashing £250 million on transfers under Louis van Gaal, were unbelievably yet so predictability outplayed and soundly beaten by newly-promoted side Norwich at Old Trafford; sparking interrogation of whether The Dutchman will be relieved of his duties as head coach.
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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/2015/12/is-van-gaal-destined-for-sack.html
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