Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Boring United Must Start to Turn on the Box Office Style

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Boring United Must Start to Turn on the Box Office Style

Article excerpt

Position: 5th Title odds: 20-1 "I THINK we are far better than last year when we started, so I have a lot of confidence. When we play in the same style and at the same level as the last six months of last season, then we can have a good year."

That was Louis van Gaal's eve of season prediction just before Manchester United kicked off the Dutchman's second campaign in charge at Old Trafford in August.

To be bluntly honest, it is hard to argue that things are any better as 2016 starts than they were when 2014 closed 12 months ago with a 0-0 draw at Tottenham.

The summer promised so much with exciting acquisitions like Pounds 25m Dutch Golden Boot winner Memphis Depay, who signed from PSV Eindhoven.

There was the capture of Matteo Darmian from Torino. The Italian had the look of a steady defender who could answer United's right-back problems.

Then Morgan Schneiderlin was signed up from Southampton, brought in to bring a much-needed injection into United's midfield department.

Within just hours of landing the Frenchman came the real coup, when United executive vicechairman Ed Woodward completed the marquee signing of German World Cup winning midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.

United fans could not have been happier. When the David de Gea exit to Real Madrid fell through, and the Reds trumped many big name suitors for the signature of Pounds 35m Monaco striker Anthony Martial, many of the question marks over van Gaal's squad being able to compete had been answered.

There were still a few misgivings over Wayne Rooney and the fact the goal scoring department appeared to be too light looking, but there was optimism. That hope and expectation has been gradually eroded, with a whole number of disappointing results not even offset by some winning performances.

Even though United have become a meaner outfit defensively, the front line has hardly been given licence to destroy sides. …

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