Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United side currently sit fifth in the Premier League on forty one points, that is forty one points with a squad of players that include Wayne Rooney, Anthony Marial, Ander Herrera, David De Gea, Juan Mata and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Whether you like it or not that is a poor haul of points for a team of that calibre. They currently find themselves six points behind their noisy neighbours Manchester City in fourth and a full twelve points behind league leaders Leicester City. They are also only a point ahead of Southampton and West Ham United and three points ahead of an underperforming Liverpool. As it stands Louis Van Gaal is statistically the worst manager in Manchester United history.
I hate to admit this, but with a team like the team United have now and Sir Alex Ferguson in charge, United would have wrapped the league up by Christmas time. Is there anything that Van Gaal can do to improve things on the pitch? I do not think so. It seems that the players have stopped playing for him. The players are, it seems, fed up with his boring brand of football. And with Jose Mourinho circling around United, Van Gaal is the proverbial dead man walking. I think he knows his time is up and he is just doing what he can at the minute to preserve his reputation.
This season so far, Manchester United have lost seven games, some of the teams they have lost to include current league leaders Leicester City, Southampton and Sunderland. These types of performances saw ex-manager David Moyes get the sack eighteen months ago.
The Manchester United job is not the first big job that Van Gaal has fluffed his lines. During his second spell as manager at Barcelona, Van Gaal came close to getting the Catalan team relegated. In 2002 he came back to Barcelona and signed a three year contract. After inconsistent results, pressure from the fans and the media, Van Gaal left Barcelona by mutual consent on 28th January 2003 with the club in 12th place in La Liga, just three points above the relegation zone and twenty points behind leaders Real Sociedad. His next post came in 2004 where he returned to Ajax as a technical director, but resigned later that year due to an internal conflict with Ronald Koeman. Van Gaal then went on to manage AZ in Holland, Bayern Munich (for the second time) and his most recent post before he signed with Manchester United was again with the Dutch National Team where he lead them to a third place finish in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Louis Van Gaal was named Manchester United manager in May 2014, replacing Ryan Giggs, who had been placed in temporary charge after the sacking of David Moyes. In his first season in charge at Old Trafford he spent £130 million on players and Van Gaal led Manchester United to a fourth-place finish, three places and six points higher than the previous season. This season things have not gone to plan for Van Gaal and Manchester United. The performances were that poor at one stage in the season I expected to see a banner flying over Old Trafford saying LVG Out. Manchester United went out of the Champions League in the group stage, stuttered in the Premier League, but 2016 began well for the Dutchman with wins against Swansea, Sheffield United and Liverpool, and a draw against Newcastle United. However, United lost to Southampton on 23rd January, bringing back rumours about Van Gaal offering to resign, but having his resignation rejected by Ed Woodward. United fans responded with a stunning Change.org petition that offered six reasons why van Gaal should be sacked by the club. The petition, made by an anonymous fan under the pseudonym ‘Manchester United Army,’ has garnered over twelve thousand signatures as of 28th January 2016.
With United losing recently in the Europa League to Danish team FC Midtjylland, the pressure is well and truly back on Van Gaal. They have a massive game in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury and if they don’t win that, I fear the writing could be on the wall again for Van Gaal and Ryan Giggs might be getting another promotion this season.