One thing that we were unable to complain about during Sir Alex’s glorious tenure was that Manchester United were boring.
Even when they lost they usually lost brilliantly and made the ticket price seem like peanuts.
But, since he left, the penetration and speed of play seems to have abandoned Old Trafford – certainly from the home side.
First David Moyes had a shocker. And now Louis van Gaal is trying to master a style of controlled football which is irking many of the Manchester United fans.
The policy seems to favour the backward pass, if it means keeping possession, rather than taking the sort of risks which not only put the opponent on the back foot, but led to unprecedented success for Manchester United under Fergie.
The back 7 looks pretty awesome if David de Gea returns to the starting line up for Manchester United. They are solid through the middle and have two brilliant full backs to provide pace down the flanks.
But it’s the front four which continues to lack pace and chemistry.
Louis van Gaal will hope that the introduction of Anthony Martial will add speed and unpredictability to a front line which doesn’t pull the opposition around anywhere near enough.
We strongly believe that Louis needs to play Martial out wide until another top winger is signed. He will provide the pace and penetration lacking from the wing when Mata plays there.
Be it on the right or the left (both Memphis and Martial appear to prefer cutting in from a starting position on the left) Martial’s pace should be deployed out wide. It will mean that opponents have two flyers running at them and give Memphis more freedom. And it also means that Louis can play Mata (or Herrera) in their best position at number 10 – round pegs in round holes at last.
So, without a second of hesitation, we would start Martial left, Memphis right and Rooney through the middle in a 4-2-3-1. The only other selection issue is whether Rojo or Blind starts at the back. We will stick with Blind for now but think that the Argentine needs some minutes off the bench in this one.
With Louis confirming in his press conference that only Andreas Pereira and Phil Jones are currently injured, here is our strongest XI for the big one. Manchester United fans: let’s have your teams