The defender was taking them against QPR…
At QPR vs Manchester United on Saturday there was a strange sight as Phil Jones stepped up to take corners for the Red Devils. This unusual decision sums up what manager Louis van Gaal has been doing wrong so far in his time at Old Trafford.
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After spending £150 million in a summer transfer splurge, fans should probably be able to expect that their corners are not going to be taken by a big lump of a centre-back. If anything, even if you think that Jones is actually a rather good set piece taker then not having him in the box means that there is one less player who is capable of beating others in the air.
This forcing of a square peg in to a round hole is similar to situations that are happening all over the pitch under the former Netherlands boss. The refusal to give up on three at the back despite several defenders looking very uncomfortable being involved in it and the playing of Wayne Rooney in midfield are both situations in which the 63-year-old seems intent on fitting players in to a system rather than coming up with a system to suit his players.
The England captain may have been doing okay in his new deeper role, but surely he would do better up front? Especially when Angel Di Maria, naturally a midfielder was being played further forward than him against Southampton. The less said about how lost Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett et al look in a back three the better. Its almost unbelievable that they haven’t been punished more for their mistakes.
While it may be admirable that he wants to play in his own way, with the way the Red Devils have been performing maybe van Gaal should be acting more pragmatically.
Despite being in fourth in the Premier League, struggling to beat relegation battlers QPR as well as losing to Southampton aren’t really the hallmarks of a great side. In fact they owe their position more to the poor form of others rather than any managerial genius. The former Barcelona manager’s claims to be in the title race are starting to look more embarrassing by the day.
After having spent as much as they did in the summer, the Old Trafford club really shouldn’t have to rely on others failing in order to qualify for the Champions League. Also, with the resurgence of Arsenal and Liverpool recently they may not be able to do so for much longer. Had David Moyes been in the same position would he be supported as well as van Gaal is right now? Probably not. The Dutchman is lucky that expectations have been lowered so much at the former title challengers.