With Manchester United recording a comfortable 3-1 win over Leicester City, lets analyze the talking points of the game as Van Gaal looks to get back to his winning ways in England.
Is Van Gaal Still Twitching His Ass?
Van Gaal had said earlier that playing with a 4-4-2 formation ‘twitches my ass’ but Manchester United showed once again that they are at their most lethal when they have an extra man in the midfield.
“We have won more games playing 4-4-2 with a diamond, but when you analyze the game, we have twitched our ass on the bench.”
Having failed to convincingly score goals this season despite boasting of a star-studded attacking line-up, Van Gaal’s Manchester United is at their best without the extra defender playing infront of De Gea. It is true that the 5-3-2 formation affords him comfort, given their rather shaky defence record, but United have failed to really trouble their opponents with this formation as it lacks teeth upfront.
Manchester United effectively switched to the 4-4-2 formation against Leicester City and managed to score thrice in the first half itself along with countless other missed chances during the game. Wayne Rooney, Januzaj, Daley Blind and Angel Di Maria combined effectively with the strikers to make things extremely difficult for Leicester City. Radamel Falcao was in the midst of the action upfront and managed to score along with Robin Van Persie, both of whom having suffered from a rather dry patch in recent weeks.
Daley Blind-The Signing of the Summer?
If one were to single out a player behind Manchester United’s impressive performance at Old Trafford, it would undoubtedly be Daley Blind. The Dutchman has struggled to find a place for himself in the squad with the presence of Michael Carrick but with the Englishman out injured, Blind was instrumental in dictating the game against Leicester City.
He combined well the defense and the attack and picked out a brilliant ball for Robin Van Persie to orchestrate Manchester United’s opening goal. He was also responsible for the third goal but the midfielder really caught the eye in his role as a holding midfielder at the bottom of the diamond formation for United. He put in crucial tackles throughout the game and managed to dictate the tempo of the match with his effortless passing abilities. Calm and collected on the pitch, it looks like Manchester United have found their replacement for the ageing Michael Carrick.
The Curious Case of Wayne Rooney
Though Wayne Rooney initially shone in his role as a central attacking midfielder, the Manchester United captain has failed to effectively dominate games lately in his role playing behind the strikers. Despite the periodic absence of both Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao, Van Gaal seems determined to play Wayne Rooney in a supporting role this season. Once again during the game against Leicester City, the Englishman found it difficult to really control the game despite finding a lot of time with the ball. It is extremely curious to see Van Gaal obstinately use Wayne Rooney in that role given the fact that he has an Angel Di Maria who is perfectly suited for that position and in all likelihood will be more effective. Hence it remains to be seen if Van Gaal opts to play Wayne Rooney as a striker in the future with Di Maria filling his position behind the two strikers.