Sitting in 10th place after 10 matches isn’t exactly what Louis van Gaal would have hoped to achieve at Manchester United after spending £150m in the summer.
The media keeps talking of signs of promise, but the club have yet to combine flashes of brilliance with resilience in defence. If David Moyes was still in charge, it’s highly unlikely he would have made it to Halloween after seeing so little return from so much investment.
Yet van Gaal, considered a tactical genius by most journalists, is yet to face serious questions regarding the team’s porous defence and style of play. United’s inconsistent performances have hindered their ability to capitalise on Liverpool’s and Tottenham’s slow start to the season. Qualifying for the Champions League is the board’s minimum requirement, yet van Gaal’s side are already struggling to keep up with the league’s pacesetters.
Crystal Palace, Hull City and Stoke City are the next three sides to visit Old Trafford. Van Gaal failed to capitalise on the team’s relatively easy fixture list at the start of the season, but he will recognise that by the beginning of December his side must have climbed the table – otherwise post-match interviews will not be so gentle.