With the festive season well and truly upon us it is time to take stock and consider if Louis Van Gaal has made the expected impact, since his arrival after the World Cup. The second half of season will be upon us in January and fans of the Red Devils will be hopeful of at least a top four finish, to ensure a swift return to Champions League football. However, before we get carried away, what of the Dutch master’s first half to the season?
If you are going to review or compare to a previous season then you need some basic criteria to compare with. Consequently, we really need to be looking at league position, the manager’s performance and his the next steps if he is to be a success.
Well, firstly, the Red Devils are currently sitting pretty in third place in the English Premier League, thank you very much! Last season, under David Moyes’ ill-fated leadership, the team finished the year in 7th place, as such, Van Gaal has clearly lifted the team and made an impact on the team’s league position. Talk of a title is ambitious but surely Champions League is a must. So far, a good start for the Dutchman.
Secondly, the former Dutch national manager is a million miles away from how David Moyes was perceived at the same stage last season, let alone towards the end. In an article for the bbc.co.uk, writer Phil McNulty, goes on to say that in his opinion, Van Gaal was “a man undaunted, unlike Moyes, by the scale of Manchester United with firm beliefs in his approach and the authority to command complete respect from his players”.
Finally, if he is to maintain this position, let alone look to improve upon it, Van Gaal must shore up that leaky defence. Far too many chances have been given away needlessly this season. Furthermore, the treatment room at old Trafford is getting rather overcrowded and the Dutchman’s priories should be working on his defence and reducing the injury list. However, with an ample cheque book to wield I anticipate a few January signings to alleviate the difficulties. That said, if Gareth Bale is to be signed for a record fee, as the newspapers would have us believe, then I must say it’s in the wrong area. However, what do I know, he is the general and he has to decide how to organise his troops.
Sometimes, with modern football I get the feeling that transfer dealings are initiated outside of a coach’s requirements. I will even go as far as to say that they are set up by agents, chairmen, director of football and the press. Do Manchester United need Gareth Bale? What am I saying of course they do but the fee being talked about is ludicrous, I have even heard of £125 Million with De Gea going in the opposite direction as a make weight!! Whilst he would be welcome in any Premier league team… we don’t need the Welshman that much!