23 Jan 2015

Supporters Unconvinced With LvG's 3-5-2 Formation

Under the guidance of former Manchester United manager David Moyes, we were left with that hangover feeling, Louis van Gaal was effectively our paracetamol, but, as we find ourselves at the halfway point of the season, do supporters believe the Dutchman's 3-5-2 formation is the way forward?

Much has been said about the way Van Gaal sets up as a tactical unit. Too defensive? No width? Yes, the  formation goes against United's tradition of attacking teams using wide players. Granted, United play with wing-backs, but the players performing these roles are being asked a huge task to both attack and defend.

It's been the subject of debate between supporters, pundits and the media. It does seem that the majority would prefer a switch back to a flat back four. It's blatantly obvious that three at the back is not working, especially when you take into account how poor the current defense are technically. It's a system that almost breeds nervousness.

Personally, the wake up call for me was against Southampton at Old Trafford, a game United lost 1-0. The formation offered nothing as an attacking threat, the fact United failed to register a single attempt on target tells its own story. Leaving Falcao out of the squad baffled most supporters and pundits, sparking stories of a bust up. United managed to keep possession of the ball against Southampton, but it was pointless possession, it's a statistic Van Gaal seems obsessed with.

Van Gaal maintains that he will stick with his formation, supporters are still waiting for signs of the horribly over used word 'philosophy' to kick in. Signs that the setup is not to the taste of the fans was evident at Loftus Road, as they chanted '4-4-2' and 'ATTACK'. Van Gaal made the change and United ended up winning the game.

Perhaps the most bizzare thing at Loftus Road that day, was witnessing Phil Jones on corner kick duty, what next? De Gea taking penalties? Rooney on goal kick duty? Falcao to be the new Old Trafford ball boy?

Van Gaal is the man to take the club forward, his 'It's us against the world' swagger, and the way he deals with the media is a breath of fresh air compared with the previous manager, But it's been a strange season, a season where we have won games that we probably shouldn't have, a season in which our goalkeeper has easily been the most impressive player out on the field, on a weekly basis. 

There is an argument that Van Gaal doesn't yet have the correct players to fit into the system he believes will one day flourish, but, at this current moment, Champions League qualification is vital for Manchester United, it would be a realistic step in the right direction that we can then build on next season. If Van Gaal persists with his current tactical formation, he could jeopardise that early season target.