Manchester United 1-2 Norwich City: Defeat leaves Louis van Gaal on the brink

by Ben Topliss

Norwich City have ramped up the pressure on Louis van Gaal with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford this afternoon.

Man United made a positive start to the match and got the ball forward often. Wayne Rooney, making his 500th appearance for the club, had the ball in the net but the flag was already up for offside. The hosts dominated possession from then on but failed to make things happen in front of goal. Norwich punished them for their profligacy when atrocious defending from United allowed Cameron Jerome to run through on goal and slot past David de Gea before half time.

Things went from bad to worse after the break as Alexander Tettey doubled the away side’s lead following a well-worked move with Jerome. United’s response was virtually nonexistent and Norwich’s goal was seldom threatened. That was until Anthony Martial smashed in to give the hosts some hope following Ashley Young’s ball into the box. The goal galvanised United somewhat, and Chris Smalling came close late on, but they could not find an equaliser, leaving Louis van Gaal under immense pressure.

Plenty of possession but no cutting edge…what’s new?

United have followed a familiar formula in practically all of their fixtures this season and Louis van Gaal’s slow, possession-based style of play was used once again in the first half at Old Trafford despite the scrutiny on the Dutchman.

Van Gaal’s side had the lion’s share of possession and their play up until the final third was good, again. However, their lack of cutting edge and quality in the box was glaringly obvious…again. And, once again, the opposition team broke on the counter attack and scored. Have we come to expect anything less from United this term?

Carrick

Criminal defending for Norwich’s opener

United’s problems were supposed to be going forward, not at the back, but the woeful defending that we have seen in recent weeks reared it’s ugly head once more on Saturday.

After soaking up some pressure, Norwich broke at pace through Nathan Redmond before Jerome finished with relative ease. Ashley Young, Phil Jones and United’s midfield were all culpable for what was an atrocious, awful goal to concede.

Wayne Rooney

The United captain returned from injury to make his 500th appearance for the club and was handed a special award by Sir Bobby Charlton prior to kickoff. However, he won’t look back fondly on the clash.

Rooney

It was a big occasion for him but the Englishman continued to look subpar against the Canaries. The likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, late into their careers, still showed moments of leadership and determination but Rooney’s career is fizzling out in meek fashion. And all for a reported £300,000-a-week? Not good enough.

Juan Mata

What has happened to the Spaniard? Mata has been awful for well over a month now, particularly against Bournemouth last time out, and he put in another terrible display against Norwich.

Nothing seemed to come off for Mata over the course of the game and his impact on the fixture was minimal. United’s form as a whole has faded over a few months now but Mata has been hit especially hard. He needs to turn things around and quick.

Juan Mata

Goodbye Louis van Gaal?

You get the sense that there is no way back for the Dutchman after this.

The players look disinterested, the team’s play is abysmal and results have simply not been good enough considering the amount of money van Gaal has spent. The general atmosphere surrounding Old Trafford feels the same as the darkest days under David Moyes. Time is up. He has to go.

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