Louis van Gaal Could Just End Up Having The Last Laugh On Us All
With another set of Jose Mourinho rumours doing the rounds this weekend – and pretty convincing ones at that – Louis van Gaal again went to work with a target on his back.
The Dutchman has long since degenerated into a walking meme, a funny Vine or just the face of an angry, ranting fan shouting into a camera on one of those godawful fan TV channels, but he is also a football manager with a job to do.
With the title long gone, that job is now to get Manchester United into the top four, something which has become a distinct possibility now that his side have moved to within a point of City.
If he achieves it and then heads off into the sunset then he will deserve respect, however difficult that will be for some people to give.
Jesus Navas Might Be The Most Infuriating Player Ever
With Raheem Sterling off injured early on, David Silva quiet and Kevin De Bruyne still on the treatment table, there was an increased emphasis on the importance of Jesus Navas, yet once again the Spaniard was left wanting.
Involved heavily early on, Navas’ influence on the game was on the wane from the moment United took the lead, with his final ball so often left wanting and his chronic lack of a goal threat laid bare.
He simply isn’t doing enough to consistently play for a club of City’s standing, something he may not do beyond the summer.
No Fellaini Means That United Can Recover Their Soul
It’s harsh to blame all of Manchester United’s recent troubles on Marouane Fellaini, but it is also impossible to ignore that they look a lot more like Manchester United when he isn’t there.
The Belgian was last seen kicking and elbowing his way through United’s fairly meek Europa League exit to Liverpool in midweek, but without him here the visitors were more willing to play through midfield, seizing on any City uncertainty in that area and creating a platform upon which they could take control of the first half.
Fellaini’s name has long since become a dirty word as far as United’s fans are concerned, but the only way that they are going to even approach their previous heights is to try and recover their soul, something they can’t do when he’s there.
Pep Guardiola Needs Two, Possibly Three New Centre-Backs
We ‘learned’ that Vincent Kompany was vitally important to Manchester City a long time ago, but what is becoming increasingly apparent is the work that Pep Guardiola is going to have to do in the defensive department when he touches down at Manchester Airport in the summer.
Martin Demichelis – who played like a man unaware of his surroundings all afternoon – will surely have to be discarded, and Eliaquim Mangala simply doesn’t inspire any confidence. Kompany’s frequent injuries make him difficult to trust too, whilst Nicolas Otamendi, also injured here, has had the occasional shocker.
Just like in other areas of the City team, younger, fitter, better players are needed in defence.
Guardiola needs to find them.
Marcus Rashford Might Be The Embodiment Of Modern Football
He scored braces against Midtylland and Arsenal and then – partly because of the fault of the England manager – was being talked about as a potential inclusion for Euro 2016.
Then, a couple of anonymous games against Liverpool in the Europa League as well as against West Brom and West Ham later, Marcus Rashford was being written off as suggestions were made that he should be stood down from United striking duty.
He’s 18, and has just bagged the winner in the Manchester derby.
Can we not just let him develop at his own pace?