Louis Van Gaal has been sacked as Manchester United’s manager and sincerely, we all saw it coming.He arrived at the club two years ago with a lot of promise given the number of trophies he had won at various clubs including Bayern munich, Barcelona and Ajax and most recently his good performance with the Dutch National team who many thought were already past their prime after the World Cup final in 2010.
Manchester United fans were happy to have Van Gaal also given his relationship with Robin Van Persie who had dropped form massively under David Moyes and there was hope of their top scorer getting back his form and leading Manchester United to glory. There was even talk of him giving the armband to his fellow Dutch man in hope of resurrecting his injury laden less than inspired 2013/14 campaign but that wasn’t the case.In his first season though, he had a task, to lead Manchester United back to the top four and probably lead Manchester United to the title at the second time of asking thereafter.He achieved his aim of a top four place though in the first season but will Manchester United fans be happy with their style of play? I do not think so. In his second season though, given the amount spent on transfers, there was hope of glory among the board and probably among few fans but then, there still remain some doubts if his style of play will lead the club to glory or there will be a new style implemented.The second season though didn’t see any improvement in premier league position as the club came fifth but successfully won the F.A Cup title after twelve years of asking. All in All, Van Gaal would probably still be proud of himself as much. As much as a lot of Manchester United fans want him out, he still implemented some good stuffs at the club that would last for a while especially the implementation of youngstars through the ranks.Therefore in this article;I highlight five positives from his time at Manchester United.
- LEADING MANCHESTER UNITED BACK TO THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN HIS FIRST SEASON IN CHARGE
Fact is if Van Gaal’s time was bad at Manchester United. David Moyes’s time was worse than terrible and I still feel that is still a part of what is holding back Manchester United from glory. Moyes took over from the great Sir Alex Ferguson and obviously was supposed to set a template of what the future will hold for Manchester United and seriously, he failed woefully.He got it wrong from the beginning sacking every staff under the previous board and keeping only Ryan Giggs who had retired with Sir Alex Ferguson. Despite winning the Community Shield, United struggled in the league and endured some of their worst results since the end of the 1980s. In January, United were knocked out of their two domestic cup competitions, eliminated from the FA Cup at the first hurdle with a loss to Swansea City, as well as from the semi-finals of the League Cup after being beaten on penalties by Sunderland.
United fared better in Europe, topping their group in the group stage. They suffered a scare when they lost to Olympiacos in the first leg of the round of 16, but overcame the deficit in the second leg. United were ultimately eliminated during the quarter-finals in April, with Bayern Munich beating them 4–2 on aggregate. On 22 April 2014, with four games remaining, Moyes was sacked as manager, less than a year into his six-year contract. His last game, two days earlier, had ended in 2–0 defeat at his old club Everton. 40-year-old player-coach Ryan Giggs was placed in charge for United’s remaining games, from which they collected seven points. A seventh place in the league was United’s lowest finish since 1990 and meant that they had missed out on European qualification for the first time since1989–90.Van Gaal came in and although the season started off on the wrong foot for Manchester United, losing 2–1 at home to Swansea City, marking Swansea’s first league win at Old Trafford in club history, and the Red Devils’ first home loss in a season opener since 1972, He did what he had to do to ensure the Red Devils return back to the Champions League, an achievement which although shouldn’t be a success to Manchester United fans, it definitely looked like a step in the right direction following the dismal season David Moyes had put the club just a year down the lane.
- HE MUST BE COMMENDED FOR ENTRUSTING THE YOUNG STARS INTO THE FIRST TEAM
Fact is most of the yougstars at the club wouldn’t be happy to see the Dutchman leave due to the opportunity he has given most of them. The likes of Cameron Borthwick Jackson who has been a mainstay at leftback wouldn’t be thinking of getting a new improved contract at the club right now to showcase his ability.The interesting thing about Borthwick was just when we felt he was just been enthrusted in games against inferior opponents, he gets picked to start in an all important game against Chelsea, a game that even saw him cross a swift ball from the left for Lingard to open the scoring. He has gone on to make further appearances and was somewhat unfortunate to miss out on the 18-man squad for the F.A Cup finals at Wembley. Paddy Mc Nair also got his fair chance last season and when he got it,he used it and became a mainstay when there were injuries but dropped form which made him largely inconsistent with the first team.His performances though earned him a call up to the Northern Ireland senior team.What can we also say of Timothy Fosu Mensah who had been a super regular and has been tipped to be a future mainstay at the club with his performances when given the opportunity.His highlight of the season was against Tottenham when he played for seventy-two minutes, got injured and immediately he went off, Tottenham Hotspur got three goals to dent Manchester united’s top four hopes and get only a second premier league victory over Manchester united in as many games.The fact about Fosu Mensah is wherever he was aked to play,he played diligently and will definitely be a vital key in Jose Mourinho’s plan at the club. Joe Riley, What more can wesay of Jesse Lingard, If anyone was ever said Lingard was going to bench Memphis Depay,it would definitely have sounded like the joke of the year but he was given an opportunity by Louis Van Gaal and he used it, scored a vital goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and who can forget the clincher to win the F.A Cup? Classic goal, classic performance at the top level to cap off a rather superb season for the young lad and who is MARCUS RASHFORD? Seriously, no one knew of Rashford’s talent before he was given the opportunity including me and I ask again who is he? Now we know him very well. He took on the stage when he wasn’t named in the starting line up against Midtjylland just for Martial to get injured and the young lad was named in the starting line up albeit with injuries to Will Keane and also Wayne Rooney and what a way to mark your debut!!! It wasn’t just about the goals, he put in a good shift all round and just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he scored twice against Arsenal and has gone on to score various goals for the club. Manchester united owe Van Gaal for giving him an opportunity, an opportunity which might see him make the England squad for the Euro’s all things being equal next year. Interesting.
- SIGNING OF ANTHONY MARTIAL
If Lingard, Rashford were revelations last season, the question is Where did Anthony Martial come from? The news broke towards the end of last seasons transfer window that Manchester United will be ready to complete the signing of the unknown Frenchman Anthony Martial.That wasn’t intriguing. What was intriguing was the fact that the fee would rise up to 63 million pounds. For who? Anthony Martial? Who is that? Even Wayne Rooney was surprised, asking colleagues Who is he?. According to Anthony Martial in a recent interview, ‘At least Wayne Rooney now knows who I am’. Dear Martial, I and the World now know who you are, you are extremely awesome. Martial was on the bench against Liverpool in a premier league game and in the second half, with the game at 1-1, he was introduced and it was therefore an opportunity for Manchester United fans to see their 63 million pounds striker and what an audition it was, scored a beautiful goal to tell Manchester United fans and the world ‘watch out for this lad’.He has not relented though, going ahead to become the clubs highest goalscorer and putting in some lightning performance that has endeared him to the millions of United fans all over the world. His dribbling skills,his eye for goal, his penetration, his one-two touches!!! The last time Manchester united fans saw something similar was in the time of Cristiano Ronaldo. Eric Cantona also recently compared the young lad to the Brazilian Ronaldo and he might not be wrong though, he has that ability to take on defenders and like Chris Smalling says,he is the hardest to mark in training. He is set to partake at the Euros with his native France and is definitely one of the players to watch at the tournament. Manchester united’s fans will definitely be grateful to LVG for signing the French dazzler.
- HE HAD A GOOD RECORD AGAINST THE BIG BOYS
In the 2014-15 when Louis Van Gaal took over as Manchester United manager he managed to get United into fourth place after quite a few ups and downs throughout the season. His record against top 6 teams in the league was excellent with a superb win ratio of 65.7%.
So basically Van Gaal played 18 matches against top 6 teams in premier league and won incredible 35 points since August 2014. Now if you compare this to David Moyes 1 year in charage who only won once against a top 6 teams . David Moyes managed just one win in 12 games against last season’s top 6 as Manchester United finished in a record Premier League position low of 7th.
- WINNING THE F.A CUP AFTER 12 YEARS
There will be no extra-time for Louis van Gaal at Manchester United but in the last 30 minutes of his Old Trafford career the Dutchman claimed the first major trophy of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era in one of the FA Cup’s most dramatic finals of recent years.It was Jesse Lingard, a substitute who reacted the quickest to score when the ball broke loose in the penalty area with 110 minutes played and Crystal Palace already imagining what their first trophy in 110 years might look like in blue and red ribbons. Yet for all that United have lost since Ferguson departed, they have not quite given up that ability to hunt down a victory even with just ten men on the pitch. He arrived for his post-match press conference with the FA Cup, planting the trophy on the table in front of him, and when the questions were done he lifted it on two separate occasions as he made his way to the door. “Thank you for the congratulations,” he repeated twice, glowering at the people he described, with no great affection, as his “friends in the media”. By that stage the news had already been leaked that José Mourinho, Van Gaal’s old friend and colleague, should be installed in the coming days and, amid all the celebrations on the pitch a short while earlier, it was certainly noticeable that United’s supporters reacted differently when the Dutchman was shown on the giant screens. There were even some isolated boos when it was his turn to lift the trophy and the cheer was nothing like as loud as that moment when Sir Alex Ferguson appeared, pointed at himself and clenched a fist, with that familiar rubicund smile.
United’s supporters must pine for those happy old days but at least the club have won their first major trophy since Ferguson announced his retirement three years ago. It has taken longer than the club might have anticipated but finally, after all the disappointments of the Van Gaal era, the accusations of blandness and the permanent suspicion that a once-mighty club have been dramatically under-achieving, they have remembered what it is like to win a trophy and the joys it can bring.
They also had to do it in the manner of the old United – or, at least, with some of the old capacity for worrying their supporters – given that Jason Puncheon had given Crystal Palace a 78th-minute lead and Chris Smalling was sent off for his second bookable offence after Juan Mata’s equaliser had taken the game into extra time.
Wayne Rooney was prominently involved in his new midfield position and Marouane Fellaini, often the player United’s supporters like the least, justified his selection after three games out with suspension. More than anything, United showed great competitive courage after the jolt of going behind and, though the occasion will probably be remembered for Lingard’s winner, perhaps the most impressive part was the way they absolutely refused to accept defeat. Rooney, showing all his leadership qualities, eluded three challenges on the run that led to Mata’s equaliser. His cross was expertly turned across the six-yard area and Mata provided the volleyed finish after Fellaini had chested the ball down. It was unusual for United’s supporters to be out-sung so comprehensively but, then again, it was an unusual occasion in many ways.The winner came in the 111th minute courtesy of Jesse Lingard’s who met a loose ball from the box with a superb volley that kept the keeper standstill and watch as the ball zoomed past him into the net. Louis Van Gaal would feel he has paid his dues and even winning an F.A Cup, a trophy Manchester United has failed to win in the past 12 years would not be enough to keep him in the job. He definately will live on a high and at least, at much as the football was boring all through his time at the club,heleaves with these five highlights which unfortunately weren’t enough to keep him in the job.