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What next for Louis van Gaal's Manchester United?

Manchester United have the least shots per game ratio under Louis van Gaal compared to that under Sir Alex Fergsuon and David Moyes.

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Feature 13 Jan 2015, 17:47 IST
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Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Louis Van Gaal suffered his 4th  Premier League defeat last Sunday bringing an end to United’s 10 game unbeaten run. His captain’s and his assessment echoed the same voice which was that that they deserved much more from the game and the Saints were lucky to get the win. This, shockingly, was the first game since 2009 that United did not manage a single shot on goal at home. A stat that discloses a lot more about a side that’s failed to captivate.

On paper, United look potent up front with the likes of Robin van Persie, Falcao, Wayne Rooney, Angle Di Maria but this United side which is the most expensive Old Trafford outfit till date has not been what many expected. Let’s take a closer look at comparisons drawn between the last 3 seasons

  Sir Alex Ferguson David Moyes Louis Van Gaal
Shots/Match 11.55 10.42 9.48
Goals/Match 2.26 1.68 1.62
Clean Sheets 34% 34% 29%

Although LVG’s stats are only over 21 games, they give a roughly accurate picture of how his side has struggled to create enough chances going upfront. Their problems have only been compounded by their notorious injury record this season especially defensively. That’s the area where the Red Devils have been found wanting time and time again and their setup has been more to contain than exploit oppositions.

Fans are growing frustrated with the 3 man defence as it’s taking the gloss off a side that has massive offensive potential. Their 5-3 loss to Leicester summarised their talent has a whole. Di Maria and Falcao stunned with scintillating goals and assists, but the side capitulated due to their defensive frailties.

Since then United have more or less persisted with the 3 man defence with Carrick being their insurance cover. The diamond, that worked so well offensively, has been binned and United are more or less trying to play a style that saw the Oranje reach the semi-final of the World Cup last year. While a lot of the Old Trafford faithful are confident that LVG is the right man for the job, many may wonder why David Moyes did not enjoy the same vote of confidence considering he had the same number of points at this time last season. LVG’s case has been helped by the fact that the other top sides have dropped several points and United despite their worries find themselves in a Champions League spot.

Their next 5 fixtures are against the so called weaker teams. It will be interesting to see what formation LVG resorts to considering their injury crisis is drawing to a close. For all of their spending, we are still to see United’s fire power come to the fore and with the Christmas period behind us the second half of the season will only get tougher.

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