10 reasons why Man United can end the season as Premier League champions
Louis van Gaal continues his rebuilding process at Old Trafford, and they look in good shape ahead of the 2015-16 campaign
Published 06/08/2015 | 14:40
Here are ten reasons why Louis van Gaal can lead Man United to premier League glory this season.
Change at Manchester United has been extensive in recent years, and after the lows of David Moyes' tenure the club looks to be on the up once again.
They have traded plenty of personnel, and have somehow held on to David De Gea for the time being at least. Even if he does end up leaving though, there are still other reasons to believe they can make a real challenge for a 14th Premier League title.
Wayne Rooney’s goals
Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao are gone, and though Louis van Gaal wants to add another striker to his squad, United will need Rooney to front up the majority of the goals next season, particularly as an incoming forward is by no means guaranteed to settle.
Having been top scorer in six of his 11 seasons at Old Trafford – and never far behind the leader – he is now the third highest goalscorer in Premier League history, just two behind Andy Cole and with Alan Shearer’s record in sight.
He is a proven striker and will be keen to return to scoring ways after dropping into midfield for parts of last season, and he is fully capable of hitting the 20-plus goals title challengers need from their main forward.
Louis van Gaal is a winner
Van Gaal has stated his ultimate aim to take United back to the summit of English football, and few managers would be better set to reach that goal. The Dutchman simply is a winner.
He has won the league with every club he has managed, racking up seven titles as well Champions League and UEFA Cup wins and a handful of domestic cup competitions. He is still rebuilding this Manchester United team, but he is strengthening wisely and moulding the team to his image. Van Gaal teams eventually click. This one might just do so before long.
Old Trafford is still a fortress
Last season rather petered out for United, but even after dropping points to West Brom and Arsenal at Old Trafford late on they retained one of the best home records in the Premier League.
Between September and April they won 14 out of 16 home games, on a fair few occasions doing what champions need to do by winning ugly.
They might have fallen from previous heights somewhat in recent years, but the Theatre of Dreams retains its power and that will be crucial.
Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin midfield axis
Since the days of Keane and Scholes the turnover of central midfielders at United has been vast. It is difficult to see their new partnership of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin failing, though.
Both bring bite and fight to the midfield, while Schweinsteiger provides a winning record almost unrivalled in England. He has 22 club honours to his name and alongside Schneiderlin – who has made more tackles (355) than any other Premier League player in the last three years – will provide wonderful protection to a defence desperately in need of just that.
The whole team will benefit but the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who need guidance, could profit most.
When United signed Matteo Darmian, Van Gaal stressed the importance of having two players for every position. They are not quite there yet but will continue to work in the transfer market and strengthen further.
Already boasting a wealth of talent, they have added players like Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay, who hit 22 league goals last season, and the likes of Darmian, Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick will supply incredible back up, while James Wilson and Jesse Lingard continue to develop.
Van Gaal likes to rotate, and he has a squad that enables him to do just that without a great dip in quality when changing things up.
They've got rid of the dead weight
Angel di Maria and Falcao both contributed little last season, but for the first half of the season at least were given plenty of game time.
This season Van Gaal is under no pressure to pick anyone if they're not performing, and we should see a more cohesive squad unit as a result.
Victor Valdes could also be shipped out, leaving United with a group comprised solely of players fully committed to the club and the manager's philosophy.
Chelsea look beatable
Jose Mourinho's team have had an iffy pre-season, and when they're not able to bully Arsenal into submission, you know everything is not quite right.
Diego Costa's ongoing injury woes are also a concern, and United have given themselves a squad capable of capitalising should the Blues stutter.
United produced some impressive results in big games last season, most notably the 4-2 defeat of Manchester City in April.
They also beat Arsenal at the Emirates, did the double over Liverpool and held Chelsea to a draw at Old Trafford.
Those results will have given Van Gaal and his team confidence that they can produce when it matters, and should fear no-one.
If they can marry their performances against the big boys with greater consistency against the weaker teams, then they'll be in a strong position to reclaim the title they last won in 2013.
They may have been busy in the transfer market, but this is the first season since 2012-13 that United have started with the same manager as the previous campaign.
You'd expect the team to benefit from that greater continuity, especially as Van Gaal has a very particular style that can take some time to adapt to.
United were far better in the second half of last season compared to the first, and the club's fans will hope they continue that improvement into the start of this one.
A cleaner bill of health (perhaps)
Surely United are not going to suffer the same horrendous luck with injuries that they had last season?
Data from the end of April showed that Van Gaal's team had endured an incredible 68 injuries - while Chelsea had just 43 at the same point.
Luke Shaw was injured on a barely credible six occasions, with Robin van Persie, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling suffering four separate injuries, and Wayne Rooney three.
Anything approaching an average injury record will leave the Old Trafford club in a much stronger position than last season to push Chelsea hard in the title race.