Incredibly Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has claimed that 2015 was a good year for Manchester United if you ignore the month of December.
The Dutch manager has been under the kosh recently as United have not so much faltered as ground to a screeching halt without a win in 8 games.
Out of the Champions League, with a team that is struggling to get to grips with the Premier League (due to personnel and/or tactics) things could get better for United but will likely get worse with tough fixtures to come in the second half of the season including trips to The Etihad, Anfield, Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane as well as Arsenal to come to Old Trafford.
But according to Van Gaal things aren’t that bad at Old Trafford!
Well here are 5 reasons why 2015 wasn’t as good a year as Van Gaal thinks it was:
Just when Manchester United thought things had clicked for them following wins over Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City at the tail end of last year United reverted to type under Van Gaal and proceeded to f*ck things up royally. United were showing the kind of form and performances that lead some to believe that they could sneak the title. But a loss to a toothless Chelsea, followed by a spanking from Everton and a frankly embarrassing loss to West Brom which saw one of the most insane tactical performances from Van Gaal saw United spin out of the title race like a character hit by a shell in Mario Kart.
This has been the same case this season with United dark horses for the title until they went on a run of 6 games without a win in the league. United have been at the summit of the table this season, yet they now sit 6th, level on points with Liverpool. The title is very much up in the air this year, and the fact United aren’t in the title race at all speak volumes of how big a problem the club face in getting back to the top.
Frankly put United have been crap a lot more than they have been good this year. They have scored the least home goals of any club in England this season (yes the whole 92) and somehow this is ok according to LVG. Give your head a wobble.
Manchester United must have been thanking their lucky stars when they were drawn with PSV, CKSA Moscow and Wolfsburg.
United were expected to qualify with relative ease and even top the group. Instead come the start of December, they watched as PSV and Wolfsburg were drawn against sides in the round of 16, whilst they waited for their names to be called in the Europa League draw.
It’s pretty much criminal that Van Gaal’s side failed to escape that group, but an opening day loss to PSV, marred by a leg break for Luke Shaw, should have let fans know what they were in for.
Coming from behind to beat Wolfsburg was impressive but Martial had to rescue them in Moscow before a an uninspired win against CSKA Moscow in the return leg seemingly had United through. Guess again!
With their fate in their own hands, United (again) royally f*cked things up!
Needing a win against PSV at Old Trafford they set up like they were already through so shouldn’t have been shocked when the game finished 0-0 thus were faced with having to go to Germany and win against Wolfsburg to qualify. They didn’t. In fact they had their pants pulled down, as the seemingly strong defence that Van Gaal had built folded under the pressure.
Some may say this is a good thing though as United can focus on the league. Not if you’re in the Europa League, so good luck getting back into the title race after a long trip Nowheristan. If United are lucky they won’t have to face the embarrassment of a group stage exit next season, because there is a decent chance they might not even make the top 4!
At no other big club would mediocrity be rewarded the way United have Wayne Rooney. The England striker has managed a gobsmacking 6 league goals all year, and currently on a £300k a week deal (thanks Moyesy!) that equates to £2.6m a goal (Thanks RedManc).
The striker has been sh*t, plain and simple. Yet it took until the game against Stoke for him to get dropped, United lost that game too (not because Rooney wasn’t playing) and he was duly restored to the first XI.
This summer United got rid of Robin Van Persie and Javier Hernandez and only brought in Anthony Martial meaning that the club thought that a striker that had managed just 4 goals in 2015 at that point was good enough to lead the team for the new season with 2 untested teenagers in Martial and James Wilson.
Insane and incompetent (I’m trademarking that actually, a buddy movie about LVG and Ed Woodward in the same mould of Dumb and Dumber) are the words that spring to mind instantly.
United’s decline wouldn’t be so bad had their rivals been doing the same but that’s never the case. Arsenal are looking good and are creating the infrastructure for whoever takes over from Arsene Wenger (I can guarantee they will do a better job of following up their legendary manager’s spell in charge than United did) to succeed. Financially in good shape and looking good on field, they could be a threat after a long spell on the sidelines watching the big boys.
Even champions Chelsea, despite their struggles, have a decent squad and you can guarantee that they too will make no mistakes in appointing a new manager when Guus Hiddink’s spell as interim manager comes to an end.
Man City, formerly a joke of a club, are finally getting their act together and with a bottomless bag of cash and Pep Guardiola potentially to come in and take over, the joke may well be on United for the next few years.
Even Liverpool could be a problem in the future with the appointment of Jurgen Klopp set to light the fire under a club that came close to winning their first Premier League title in 2013/2014. Perhaps United should take a note from their bitter rivals who sacked the under performing Brendan Rodgers to get Klopp in. Jose is just a call away!
As touched on before United’s transfer business hasn’t been the best. Forget how much they’ve spent, football is an expensive game (have you tried watching a game at the Emirates recently?!) so players are going to cost an arm and a leg, but it is the way United have conducted their business that is probably the most worrying.
The embarrassing pursuit of Sergio Ramos or the crazy attempt to sign Pedro comes to mind when you say United’s transfer business has been nothing short of crazy. Getting rid of Hernandez and Van Persie with no replacement was confusing. The fact Memphis has failed to impress couldn’t have been accounted for and he has shone in stints that lets you know that he may still come good, so perhaps the worst bit of business was the sacking off of Angel Di Maria.
A match seemingly made in heaven, fans will wonder what Di Maria’s United career would have been like had he been signed by Alex Ferguson or a manager that won’t have a player sent to the gulags for possessing the slightest bit of attacking intent (Free Ander Herrera!)
He too wasn’t replaced before Adnan Januzaj was shipped out to Borussia Dortmund and now United find themselves in the position they are now. No goals, no excitement and unhappy fans who will demand that this is rectified in January 2016.
So roll on the new year where more unwanted records will be broken, another team that isn’t Manchester United will win the Premier League and Pep Guardiola will likely join a rival side!