Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat against Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday came as a shock to most people, but it may not have been such a shock to anybody that has seen the Red Devils play this season.
United have been excruciating to watch at times this season. There is no getting away from it two shots on target at Old Trafford against a team struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table is simply not good enough.
However it has been symptomatic of United this season under Van Gaal. To coin an old phrase if United were playing at the bottom of my garden I would shut my curtains.
United not progressed since last season
One of the key issues at the moment is Van Gaal helped United re-capture a spot in the Champions League last season, only for his team to go out at the group stages. The veteran Dutchman then spent big in the summer transfer window on the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial.
It seems you do not get much progress for £250million these days. Instead of progressing this season and building on a solid, if not unspectacular campaign last season, they seem to have gone backwards.
Football is supposed to be entertaining, but it seems nobody told Mr Van Gaal that. He has more often than not built title winning sides in other countries and all of those teams could not have played this slow uninspiring brand of football.
I remember seeing his AZ Alkmaar team in the not so that distant past playing some really good football and being relatively attacking. In their title winning season in 2008/09 Van Gaal’s team had the best defensive record in the Eredivisie and only Ajax scored more goals than his AZ team.
However, the scary thing is thing is for United at the moment is that Van Gaal does not seem to believe his team are doing much wrong.
I just wonder whether the 64-year-old really believes that, or whether he is just attempting to make believe that he wants his team to play the current style of football.
Fantastic alternatives for United
This summer could be a big one with a major merry-go-round of Europe’s highest profile bosses. Two of the best bosses of their generation Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will be available in the summer, if Mourinho does not accept a job earlier.
Guardiola has more silverware than the British royal family. He is an innovator and a winner. The former-Barcelona boss recently revealed that he will leave Bayern Munich in the summer when his contract expires in Bavaria.
His imminent exit has raised excitement amongst the fans of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United fans, as all three Premier League clubs have been mooted as potential destinations for the Catalan.
The world is Guardiola’s oyster and any club would be crazy to turn down the chance of hiring him this summer.
Mourinho may have endured a poor campaign with Chelsea, but his record in European football prior to this season cannot be disputed. He is another serial collector of silverware. His nickname of the ‘bus driver’ because he parks the bus at certain times takes away something from the fact his teams more often than not win trophies.
At Real Madrid he proved he could create a team that can play expansive attacking football, although like at Chelsea he left after a poor run of form. Mourinho is not a boss who brings long-term success, but rather a short burst of success that helps a club develop as a whole.
I believe that the majority of United fans would take Mourinho and his short burst of success over the anaemic style of football currently on display at Old Trafford under Van Gaal.
Two games to save his job
The next two Premier League games could decide Louis van Gaal’s future at United. The Red Devils travel to Stoke’s Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day, before a home game with Chelsea just two days later.
Louis van Gaal was brought in help return the glory days to Old Trafford. He achieved his first aim of restoring United to the top four of the Premier League table, but the Red Devils seem to lack the strategy to be realistic contenders for the title this season.
Incredibly United are still in with a chance of winning the league and are odds of 14/1 to achieve that objective. However with the current style of play on offer, even if they do the unthinkable and win the title, most of the United fans will not see it anyway as they will all be in a Van Gaal inducted coma.
Should Louis van Gaal be sacked?