Without a doubt, Manchester United are one of the biggest football clubs on the planet. The 13-time Premier League champions have dominated both English and European football since the early 1990s and will be forever remembered for their treble-winning side in 1999. Whether you like them or not, United are a football giant.
Since losing charismatic leader Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, United have struggled for consistency and have failed to win a major trophy in each of the last two seasons. While Louis van Gaal is a significant upgrade on predecessor David Moyes, the Red Devils are still failing to inspire confidence on the terraces at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman is ‘doing a job’ so to speak, but his style of play has been criticised heavily by a number of ex-United stars, none more so than club legend Paul Scholes. The midfielder believes that the Red Devils are now tedious and boring to watch, while he also claimed that Van Gaal’s formation is hindering Wayne Rooney’s form in attack.
Realistically, the Red Devils will never have another manager like Ferguson. He was relentless, he was ruthless and he was the best. In his 26 years at the helm, the United great won 38 major trophies, including 13 Premier League crowns, two Champions League successes and a FIFA Club World Cup title.
While United are still a solid, reliable team, they’re playing a completely different brand of football this season. In the past, Ferguson encouraged attacking football. Van Gaal, however, prefers a strong, defensive approach.
The Red Devils are still picking up victories but they are not entertaining supporters on a weekly basis anymore. They are just four points behind Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the league and, at the time of writing, Betway value United at 8/1 to win the title.
United’s fans aren’t quite used to this different brand of football just yet. On the terraces, people still ask ‘can you predict the correct score?’ In fact, Betway – who are one of the largest online bookmakers in Great Britain – are offering odds on United’s final result every week as just one of the markets available on their website.
Van Gaal is a good manager, there’s no doubt about that. The main problem at Old Trafford is that United fans have been spoilt over the years. For many supporters, all they know is success. The Dutchman cannot, and shouldn’t try to, emulate Ferguson but must try to adapt United’s tactics. And, although it’s affecting their style of play, it’s certainly working.