Manchester United fans have every right to be looking forward to the new season after enduring a torrid spell under David Moyes. The powers that be have brought in a coach with seven league titles under his belt from three different countries and three Champions League final appearances on his CV. A far cry from Moyes’ Division Two title with Preston.
Louis Van Gaal has installed Wayne Rooney as captain and United have experimented with a 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 throughout the early stages of the season, a formation that Holland used to get to the World Cup semi-finals. The friendlies might have been as pointless as a bald hedgehog, but United won all six games, beating Real Madrid, Liverpool and Roma along the way. The start to the season has been less impressive, stumbling to defeat at home to Swansea and a draw away to Sunderland, but United fans shouldn’t panic just yet.
Van Gaal has managed five club sides in his 23-year career and the Paddy Power Blog have crunched the numbers to see what United fans can expect from his opening spell at the helm.
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The bottom line figures read quite well. 31 wins from 50 games gives Van Gaal a win rate of 62 per cent in his opening 10 games at a new club, and he has posted win rates of 80 per cent at Barcelona (1997) and AZ Alkmar (2005). He has never gone unbeaten in his opening 10 league games at a new club, however has rarely lost many.
A more interesting angle is the goals scored and goals against columns.
- In those 50 games, Van Gaal’s sides scored 110 goals – an average of 2.2 goals a game.
- Even when his win rate dropped with Barca in 2002 (40 per cent) and Bayern Munich in 2009 (50 per cent) Van Gaal’s sides were still managing 1.7 goals a game. It speaks volumes about the Dutchman’s style of attacking football. A system that will no doubt go down well at OT.
- In the conceded column, Van Gaal’s sides did ship a fair amount of goals – just above one a game on average. Even when they were winning a large percentage of games Van Gaal’s side were leaking goals, and with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra leaving in the summer the same could happen this time around.
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