Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted he still does not know which formation best suits his Manchester United players according to the Mirror.
Yet it’s possible to trace the Iron Tulip’s logic as he has manipulated his talented squad from 3-4-1-2, through 4-1-2-1-2 (diamond) to 4-1-4-1 over the Premier League’s opening 11 games.
The following league table represents the formations’ relative points-harvesting merits.
Interestingly, United’s yield hasn’t improved with every successive change in formation, yet evidence than Van Gaal continues to refine his setup is there regardless.
Massive injury issues in central defence contributed to the shelving of the Dutchman’s Netherlands World Cup 2014 configuration after three outings.
Phil Jones may have shone when employed at the heart of the rearguard, but goals proved far harder to procure with the attack on a tactical learning curve.
Shelving the three-man backline for a more familiar 4-4-2 variant allowed the Red Devils’ to forge some confidence-boosting fluency while lessening the demand for centre-halves.
The switch rewarded Van Gaal with a welter of goals, showcasing Angel di Maria’s brilliance, however they came at the expense of the defensive stringency 3-4-1-2 had offered.
LvG’s latest evolution has seen a return to the goal-a-game concession rate of the first formation of the season with a striker sacrificed in order to make United harder to break down.
The withdrawal of the second forward may seem to have blunted the attack once more, yet Van Gaal’s men actually average more shots on goal in this setup (18.25) than either 4-1-2-1-2 (14.25) or 3-4-1-2 (10.33).