Manchester United’s Premier League resurgence continued this weekend with a 1-0 win against Everton, earning their fourth win from their last five.
Only two clubs have won more league games than the Red Devils in 2016, and manager Louis van Gaal could well be winning fans back over due to their strong finish to the campaign. After so much criticism, he’s finally proving his worth.
Top-four a realistic objective for United
United are still fifth in the Premier League with 53 points from 31 games, but are only one point adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City. Van Gaal’s side have brought back a fear factor at Old Trafford, losing only two of their 15 home games in the division. They have beaten Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton this year, but continue to struggle away against lower-league.
Manchester United’s defeats have come against Swansea City, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Norwich City, Stoke City, Southampton, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion in the league this season, but their form against the top-six has been exemplary. Van Gaal has come in for a lot of criticism this campaign, but has delivered in the big matches.
Fans being bowled over by form against the top-six
Supporters still want him out of the club ahead of the 2016/17 season, but many are swaying given recent form. United were being tipped for the Premier League title last year, but their results against the mediocre clubs has greatly cost them. Despite having a weaker squad than the majority of sides around them, Van Gaal has shown he can set up the team to get a result.
However, their form in Europe has been less than impressive, suffering a premature knockout in the Champions League group stages and in the Europa League after that. Fans certainly haven’t forgotten the poor performances that led to their exits from the two European competitions, nor have they forgotten their Capital One Cup exit to Middlesbrough.
And coupled with a disappointing run of three wins from 12 between October and January, Van Gaal found himself the subject of vitriol from the supporters. He is slowly working his way back into favour, but his future may already be sealed by the club hierarchy if rumours are to be believed. Van Gaal still has a year left on his deal, but admitted he was unsure if he’d see it out.
Manchester United are 15/2 to win the 2016/17 Premier League title, but will Van Gaal be in charge to lead them? Is he changing perception among the supporters?