Three years ago to the day this happened, and it might take you a moment to process it. Take your time...it's difficult to understand but it's true! Take a look at the photograph and think about these players today. Then read on...
Manchester United 8 - 2 Arsenal
Don't believe us? Google it. Honestly it actually happened. The same players, three years younger and under a different manager put eight past Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick and Ashley Young hit a brace against Laurent Koscielny and co. Can a manager really have that much influence over a side? He can if he's Sir Alex Ferguson and he's got a bit of explaining to do if he's to sort this current mess out. Come on Fergie...just how did you do it?!?
The key to SAF's success was longevity, and we must remember he was perhaps only one result away from being sacked. He flirted with disaster in his early days at Old Trafford but the club is now a listed company on the New York Stock Exchange. Ferguson didn't have the pressures of such a huge financial beast on his back, but Louis Van Gaal and Ed Woodward do. It's a difficult thing to understand for anybody not in their shoes. They are quite literally in charge of the biggest club in the world, and it must be difficult to sleep at night under that sort of pressure, never mind purchase and coach a team to continued success.
Van Gaal has worked under this cloud before though, and the way he signed autographs after the humiliation of a 4-0 defeat away to MK Dons showed that he really isn't too worried about it all. There's a plan in place and it will come to fruition, just as it did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The Dutch coach was under the gun in Germany and told in no uncertain terms that he had to win his next three games or he would be sacked. Bayern won those games and the Champions League that very same season.
The arrivals of Di Maria, Rojo, Herrera, and Shaw has sent United's transfer spending skywards and if rumours are to be believed then Woodward and Van Gaal aren't about to stop there. Arturo Vidal is still very much on the radar, as are no end of central defenders, but if you take a look at Manchester United's potential starting XI against Burnley on Saturday then there's hardly room for complaint from any fans. Van Gaal has to get them playing his brand of football, and the players have to embrace the philosophy, but this isn't the worst team a club could field.
De Gea, Shaw, Valencia, Rojo, Jones, Smalling, Herrera, Mata, Di Maria, Van Persie, Rooney.
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