Louis van Gaal has endured a tough start to his career in England – three competitive games in charge of the country’s biggest club and yet to register a win.
Beaten 2-1 at home by Swansea City, held 1-1 at Sunderland and humiliated 4-0 at MK Dons in the League Cup. Can he afford anything less than a victory at Burnley on Saturday?
The 3-4-1-2 formation he had adopted simply has not worked so far. How long will he give his side before changing?
Good news for United fans is the arrival of British transfer record signing Ángel Di María. His £59.7 million transfer fee does come across expensive. But as it gives United the option to move away from their unsuccessful formation and with a top quality player – things will only get better from here.
Di María started as a left winger when I watched him during his days in Portugal at Benfica. Declaring the club not big enough to fulfil his dreams, he got his dream move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2010.
Initially switching between left and right wings with Cristiano Ronaldo, he ultimately ended up predominately as a right winger. That was before Gareth Bale’s arrival last summer and then he switched to centre midfield when he did play.
At this summer’s World Cup, before getting injured in his country’s quarter-final victory over Belgium, Ángel Di María played spent a lot of time in a three-man centre midfield.
With Marcos Rojo unavailable this weekend, perhaps the switch of formation won’t happen just yet and Manchester United’s record signing may slip into the midfield alongside Juan Mata and Darren Fletcher, at least while Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw are also injured
The playmaker potential is mouth-watering with Juan Mata, Di María and Wayne Rooney supporting Robin van Persie in the front four. Manager Louis van Gaal has to get them to click though. Prior to Di María making his debut,
Manchester United have looked very limp going forward creating little against both Swansea and Sunderland.
Ángel Di María will certainly help change all that. The Argentine led La Liga in assists last season – with 17. Perhaps he’s not so bad in centre midfield. Question marks over his and Juan Mata defending off the ball though. Can they really be played alongside each other? And will they play alongside each other against the top opponents?
To me, here’s how Manchester United’s strongest lineup on paper looks, assuming all players on the squad were fit:
I’m sure you’ll have your own belief what the strongest lineup is for Louis van Gaal.
Manchester United also appear to be in the hunt for new central midfielder to protect the defence. They could certainly do with one, especially against the top sides that they will probably need more defensive than attacking players in the team.