Thursday, 28 January 2016

LIMPING UNITED TRAVEL TO DERBY IN THE CUP


It's just as well that Manchester United drew an away fixture for the fourth round of the FA Cup. Old Trafford is hardly home these days for Louis van Gaal and his players. The manager has lost the fans and it takes something special for there to be a turn around in that respect. As it is, van Gaal can do no right in the eyes of many fans. Even the odd victory has been met with a sense of dissatisfaction among fans with fears that every other win lengthens his stay at the club.

It's incredible to note that even at David Moyes' lowest point in charge of the club, there was never an open revolt among fans inside Old Trafford. Certainly, the Scott was never openly booed in that manner van Gaal was last Saturday. If the Dutchman was confused about the light in which he was held by fans, it couldn't have been made more clearer this past week.

The owners, and indeed Ed Woodward are not about to throw in the towel yet. It reflects poorly on the Executive Vice Chairman if the club is looking for its third manager in three years. As such, the communication that van Gaal was looking for a new house in Cheshire after the expiration of his previous four month lease confirms that there is no hint of a change in management in the near future by the club's hierarchy.

Against all odds therefore, the Dutchman will take charge of the Cup fixture at the iPro stadium despite being top of the bookmakers' list for the chop for the best part of a month. If ever you needed evidence that United do not act on the pressures from outside, its this.

The game itself represents shock value for the BBC's audience because it is not inconceivable that United could be sent packing from the competition tomorrow night. They needed a last minute penalty to book their place in this round having toiled to break down Sheffield United (of all teams) on the very expansive Old Trafford pitch.

The FA Cup represents United's biggest shot at a trophy this season but like last season and the Europa League to come, there is a genuine feeling that United will exit the competition as soon as they face the first half decent opponent. It is a feeling that takes justification from the fact that on Saturday against the Saints, United struggled to ping three straight passes together. Indeed, it summed it up perfectly when midway through the second half, David De Gea misplaced a pass, sending it straight into touch.

Derby County are enduring a winless streak in the Championship that has lasted a month and only on Monday went down 4-1 at home to Burnley. They do, however, retain a play off place in the Championship. You would imagine Friday Night under the lights will get the iPro up for the most likely upset in the 4th Round.

Where that would leave van Gaal is anyone's guess.   

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