The result against Leicester City was, in fact, the one of the six games that ended in a draw within the past two months of fixtures. In the league Manchester United are only a point off first place, second place in the Champions League but yet to confirm their qualification to the next round, out of the Capital One Cup and haven't yet participated in the FA Cup.
After the game against Leicester, here are the thoughts of some fans who shared their thoughts through Twitter:
Nick @ManUtdYouth: "Result far from terrible. Performance very much same old, same old. Refuse to buy this insistence from some that we should overlook the utter tedium because it's a '''process'''.
Andrew @TuftyMUFC: "Another lesson in the philosophy that is sideways and backwards football. Suprisingly the lump it forward to Fellaini plan B wasn't used."
Helin @MUnitedGirl: "I always blame the players, but van Gaal has killed football. This is his doing. "But we're fighting for top spot so it's all good."
Boring style of play?
Louis van Gaal and his style of play has lately become known as "boring" and "defensive". Despite having the best defensive record in the league when Manchester United are on the attack they don't look fun to watch anymore. You can't blame the fans for complaining, they want to see their club entertain them and win games confidently. Ex-players like Peter Schmeichel, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes have criticised van Gaal's style and believe they can do much better if the manager presented an attacking style of play.
The club have some fantastic players in Ander Herrera, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay who are blessed with plenty of ability, but unfortunately for them they are struggling to utilise most out of it. The manager expects the team to play safe football - no risks allowed to be taken, this originally results in lots of back passes and sideways passing which frustrates everyone.
In the past five games, the club have only managed 26 shots in total on target which averages just over five shots a game which is poor for a team that is aiming to be challenging for the Premier League title, after all. This follows on from too much time wasted on the irrelevant passes sideways and backwards, 26 shots in five games isn't enough unless the club's strikers are clinical but facts prove that they aren't as they only managed to convert six out of the 26 shots.
The stats displayed above show Manchester United are becoming the most boring team in the league and it seems to be a surprise that they are still third in the league and only a point from first place. The style of play has been become too obvious, football fans can dictate the next pass or moment that's about to happen. Fans who go to the games every week always speak their mind out chanting "attack" when the game starts to get boring.
The fact that it takes a team like Manchester United, who are known for the attacking style of play, 76 passes to create a chance under Van Gaal just sums everything up. Having the best possession stat in the league seems like a positive, but the main point to think is whether you are using it to your benefits to attack the opponents defence instead of harmless passing which doesn't cause problems to the opponents. It's irrelevant to have a high possession if you don't use it to create chances and shots.
What has van Gaal done so far?
What Van Gaal is doing seems to be beneficial for the club long-term wise, but fans not staying patience could mean he could get the sack and the long-term plan will not be completed successfully. The plan van Gaal is trying to complete could be shown to be successful in two-three years' time, but the manager is not providing entertaining football and matches ending in many draws could mean the fans won't get to see if his plan was a success or a flop.
Inheriting a broken team that finish 7th place under David Moyes, the work Van Gaal has done since he was announced manager of Manchester United can't be forgotten. Clearing the deadwood, bring his successful method in from the past and creating a rock solid defence which is becoming tough to beat. Since the win against Everton 3-0 away at Goodison Park on 17th October to a 1-1 draw to Leicester last week was the long run of the Reds not conceding from open play.
The attacking football Manchester United played left the club with Sir Alex Ferguson when he retired, David Moyes didn't seem to be doing well considering the fact he's more of a defensive and counter attack manager. Van Gaal's first aim when he came in was to bring the club back to the top four and bring back Champions League nights to Old Trafford, which he did.
But what also needs to be remembered is, last season the football at start of the season was great until an embarrassing defeat 5-3 away to Leicester which seemed liked the big talking point of how Van Gaal goes on from here. So it started off with Van Gaal working on creating a strong and aggressive defence and went on to playing the football on a safe level which would mean players don't get enough freedom with it and it's more of a pass and move game. The style of play became so safe that even if their was no options available to pass forward, no risks can be taken and the players could only pass sideways or backwards.
Time to drop the captain?
Wayne Rooney has been criticised by most fans this season and it's not a surprise here are the latest stats - Leicester: 70% pass accuracy, 0 shots on target, 0 chances created, 0 take-ons and 0 crosses completed. He seems to be going missing in every game and fans believe it's time for him to leave the club or just hang up his boots. For a player who is the highest earner at the club, those stats are awful and he is getting away with these performances because he's the captain and he can't get told off.
Since being announced as the club's captain he has loads of responsibilities to cover, you hardly see many world class strikers that take the captaincy role. It seems best to give the captaincy to a natural leader like Chris Smalling or Bastian Schweinsteiger, originally a striker as a captain doesn't seem the best idea considering they will be on the other side of the pitch for most of the game. Chris Smalling seems like the best option to make as the club's captain, the Englishman has become a pure gem in the centre of defence. Starting to become a strikers' nightmare, Smalling is very composed, not making silly mistakes and has really done well to keep the performances consistent.
For both Rooney and the clubs interest it's best he leaves, as a striker he has lost his touch and his pace has been fading away the past few years. His pressing side of the game as a striker has been awful, making defenders who are aged 35-years-old playing for CSKA Moscow look good. It seems like the central attacking midfield role is the only position he could play in, but even then likes of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata are much better than a Rooney in that role. So the only realistic option it seems is to bench Rooney.
Possible additions in January?
With Wayne Rooney seen more active in a deep position, it leaves Anthony Martial as the only recognised striker in our squad and the Man Utd fans were shocked when an announcement revealed James Wilson will be going out on loan. Javier Hernandez, Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie leaving in the summer and the club only bringing in Anthony Martial seem like a big risk, if the club are thinking about challenging for the league a natural goalscorer like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will definitely be needed. Memphis Depay has played in the striker role the past few games, but both Memphis and Martial are 21 and 19 years old so the pressure on both the youngsters will be hard to complete. Aubameyang has 22 goals in all competitions so far this season, if he was brought by Manchester United can he be the difference of making them league champions instead of settling for top four.
Another area which needs to be looked at is the right back position, summer signing Matteo Darmian started the season off well but van Gaal preferring Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young seems to have given him more competition then we would have thought. With Valencia picking up an injury for the next few months, it only leaves Young who shouldn't be a backup full-back and Darmian who has been struggling of form. So it would not be a surprise if the manager plans to bring in a full-back, maybe to move Darmian to left-back position he has filled in on a few occasions.