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LVG turns it round – Manchester derby win continues United’s progress
Louis Van Gaal can be much happier with life at Manchester United after the 4-2 victory against local rivals Manchester City consolidated their position in the Top three this weekend.
By the club’s rich history, this is the minimum they should be achieving, but after the shambles of last season and a slow start to the current campaign – the progress is encouraging.
It’s not as if the Red Devils haven’t been in the hunt for the top four all season – they have. That’s not been the issue. More often than not, particularly at Old Trafford – they were winning games too.
The problem and the slight fan unrest came with the performances. They were slow, predictable and uninspiring when assessing how much this season could achieve. Van Gaal’s philosophy was failing.
Or so we thought…
An FA Cup defeat to Arsenal halted progress slightly, but victories over Liverpool and Manchester City – their two biggest rivals – have got the club bouncing again.
You could say Van Gaal’s philosophy has finally shone through and he definitely deserves credit. The hard yards his team put in during the summer, early season – it’s finally coming off.
Perhaps though, he adjusted his thinking too. A formation change – away from the horrific 3-5-2 – has seen wingers take on a huge role and Wayne Rooney in a central striker role.
This is less a Van Gaal approach, but a throw back to what has been successful in previous years. Michael Carrick returning has helped significantly too – no doubt about that.
It was perhaps the manager’s acceptance that the team would be improved with creative duo Ander Herrera and Juan Mata in the side that has given them an extra edge though.
While Herrera sits alongside Carrick and works his magic, Mata has been a constant goal threat as he keeps close to Rooney from the right-hand side. The Spanish duo have been immense.
You could even put all of this in a more simple way – as soon as Van Gaal stopped trying to fit Radamel Falcao into the side, there was dramatic improvement.
All in all though, this appears to be a club that’s back on it’s feet having – after nearly two seasons of trying – stumbled on a formation and a team selection to ensure they’re live and kicking.
As we all know, once the Manchester United train starts speeding on – it’s pretty difficult to stop it.
Top four this season – title next? Check Man Utd's odds of finishing in the top 4 this season at Footballtips.com