“Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.” – Ambrose Bierce
As we venture deeper into the second half of the season, I still have an issue with Van Gaal’s “vilosofi”. The issue is…what is it?
Ferguson seemed to have one philosophy: winning. Get a group of young players who know each other well, mix with a smattering of experienced heads, be proud to wear the red, white and black, and go out and do your stuff. It seemed to have worked for over a quarter of a century.
Stats have shown that the Moyes of last season and Van Gaal of this season are virtually neck and neck, yet van Gaal has spent over £150m while Moyes had a Capital One Cup semi-final and last 16 of Champions League to aim for; Van Gaal has no such issues.
The Allure of Arrogance
Yet at this point last year, the press were merciless in their attacks on Moyes. The fans were already saving up to hire planes to fly past Old Trafford, and the smell of revolt was in the air. So why is Van Gaal still so adored by both the press and fans? One word, BELIEF. Despite some pretty uninspiring football, we all seem to believe Van Gaal has the philosophy to get us back to the top.
Seven Points From City
Is our style of football really any better now than under Moyes? The last five games don’t point to that. We beat QPR, but messed up some fairly winnable games, receiving just five points out of a possible twelve. Those seven points dropped would have put us level on points with City, and just five points behind Chelsea with 16 games to go.
Injuries Impossible to Explain
Meanwhile, we barely beat Yeovil in the FA Cup – a team that cost less that Falcao’s weekly wage! Is it just bad luck that the team has been decimated with injuries on a scale not seen by the Dutch since the Battle of Arnhem? Some blame Van Gaal’s training techniques, some say the team was already unfit – a legacy of Moyes’ training techniques. Who really knows for sure, but it has been an unacceptable problem considering all the science now utilised at Carrington, and may have put a serious dent in our European aspirations.
Can Van Gaal Fend Off the Gunners & the Saints?
What we do know is that Van Gaal is an astute manager; he has class and experience and a history of developing championship teams. So will his philosophy steer us into fourth or even third by the end of the season? Arsenal are clearly starting to find form, Southampton are still looking very good despite two significant injuries, and certainly not relegation fodder as most pundits predicted.
We Have a Chance To Gain Momentum. Will We Take It?
We just can’t afford any more of these mediocre performances, especially with at least 6 very winnable games coming up in the league (plus Cambridge in the FA Cup on Friday, of course).
It’s unthinkable that we could miss out on the Champions League next season with the financial ramifications to the club. Philosophy, schmilosophy; get back to the basics, and stop with the sideways and backwards play. Sure, Van Gaal doesn’t have to listen to the 600 million on Twitter calling for the end of 3-5-2, but maybe he should pay more attention to our home and travelling fans – the chants of “Attack, attack, attack!” won’t be stopping any time soon.
What do you think? Does Van Gaal need to get back to basics and unleash our attacking instincts, or do fans need to be patient and trust the manager’s methods?
If those two options aren’t quite nuanced enough for you, tell us what you think in the comments…