Manchester United would be looking to get back to winning ways, following their shock defeat at the hands of Southampton at Old Trafford last week, when they face relegation struggling QPR on Saturday in the Premier League.
With one win in four matches, the pressure is slowly piling on Louis van Gaal, but United should start as favourite against the 19th place team that are yet to win in their last five games.
An interesting stat has come out after United’s defeat against Southampton that the Red Devils were exactly in a similar league position under David Moyes last season, that has left many United fans asking question whether at all there has been any significant progress under the new regime.
We can waste our entire day arguing and counter arguing on this topic but the truth remains United need to deliver on pitch. The results need to improve, especially with Arsenal and Liverpool gaining momentum and looking to grab the elusive Champions League spot.
Will Van Gaal stick with 3-5-2 system?
There has been a lot of clamour with Van Gaal’s use of 3-5-2 system – some say it works, others say it doesn’t. Every system has its own pros and cons, but with 3-5-2 at United, the drawbacks are glaringly evident, probably because the system doesn’t fit the kind of players United have at the moment.
Manchester United are probably the only club in England that has given so much predominance to wing play (Best, Beckham, Giggs, Ronaldo et al) than anything else throughout their history. The current system results in a lack of width, where wingers are converted into wing-backs (Valencia & Young) in order to accommodate them in the 3-5-2 system.
United legend Paul Scholes feels that Van Gaal is blunting United’s attacking prowess with this maligned 3-5-2 system.
“My issue with 3-5-2 has always been that it gives a team the security of having possession without offering them the opportunities from which they might score the goals that win the game,” Scholes wrote in his Independent column.
“Ronald Koeman was clever in his approach to United.
“James Ward-Prowse kept close to Michael Carrick and made sure Michael did not control the game. Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin did the same to Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney.
“Because United lack pace in attack the two centre-halves could push up on Robin van Persie and suddenly the lack of options going forward was telling.
“Van Persie has a great touch but defenders can afford to get tight to him because they don’t have to worry about him spinning off for the ball dropped in behind them.”
Manchester United failed to muster a single shot on target against the Saints, despite enjoying loads of possession in the middle. Wayne Rooney continues to play in the middle is a pointless exercise when he’s a better striker, even as a second striker dropping into midfield.
What’s the big deal with Falcao? Radamel Falcao was strangely omitted from the squad against Southampton, probably due to tactical reasons, as claimed by the manager.
It has resulted in wild speculation about his future once again, while his agent reportedly criticising the manager’s decision has only complicated the matter.
However, with Van Persie now injured and won’t feature against QPR, it presents a wonderful opportunity for Falcao to impress the Dutchman, provided he plays at all. In case, he misses out again, serious questions will be asked whether Van Gaal at all trusts him.
United paid £16m to sign Falcao on loan for one season only – and that is a huge money for any loan player! Even if we ignore the financial aspect, putting a world class player on bench/not including him in the squad when he’s properly fit, doesn’t make enough sense.
Van Gaal continues to ignore Ander Herrera
Like Falcao, Januzaj and few others, Ander Herrera’s case is also a curious one. The Spaniard despite performing when he is called on, hasn’t started a game in the league since November.
It was all the more baffling to see him being excluded from the side, after he produced a brilliant performance against Yeovil Town, where he scored a superb goal and was arguably the best player on the pitch!
Injuries didn’t help too, and with Blind now getting back into the frame and Van Gaal regularly picking out Carrick to lavish high praise, it is getting increasingly difficult for Herrara to make a strong impression. Hope he gets a chance against QPR!