Man United: Another reason not to buy into the Louis van Gaal hate

Even in a disappointing campaign, Man Utd have continually performed well against the elite
Even in a disappointing campaign, Man United have continually performed well against the elite

It isn't just the likes of Shrewsbury that Louis van Gaal's Man United excel against - they top the Big Six mini-league...


"Van Gaal has won three and drawn three of his seven showdowns with Big Six adversaries this season, doing the double over Liverpool, inflicting Spurs’ only domestic away loss of the campaign, holding Chelsea twice and shutting out their neighbours at Old Trafford."

Clearly 41 points from 26 Premier League games, a Champions League group stage exit and a home Capital One Cup elimination at the hands of a Championship side represents underachievement for a club as enormous as Manchester United.

However, even in acknowledging this, it doesn't alter the fact that the levels of vitriol aimed at Louis van Gaal by the media and some neutrals often transcends acceptability, as was highlighted by the number of negative headlines which followed a routine 3-0 FA Cup fifth round victory at Shrewsbury.

Rather than just admit that it was an overdue night where everything went well for the Reds, there was ridicule for the team selection - despite it being necessitated by injuries - and the decision to (successfully) borrow a set-piece routine from Europa League adversaries FC Midtjylland.

Others ruled that it was easier to simply discredit the triumph by observing that anyone could defeat opponents in the League One relegation zone and claiming that it doesn't alleviate any pressure on the manager because he can't do it against the Premier League's elite.

That is a criticism that the 64-year-old can refute without any difficulty though as it transpires that if you collate 2015/16 results in matches between the division's supposed Big Six - Man United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool - the 20-time champions have the best record of the lot.

Van Gaal has won three and drawn three of his seven such showdowns this season, doing the double over Liverpool, inflicting Spurs' only domestic away loss of the campaign, holding Chelsea twice and shutting out their neighbours at Old Trafford.

Those figures give them a three-point lead over Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal in the head-to-head table with three fixtures to play and they are 2.89/5 favourites to win that mini-league in the Betfair Exchange's Best of the Best market.

The 1.71 point-per-game average in those encounters should also concern their Sunday visitors Arsenal. The Gunners beat them at the Emirates in October, but they haven't prevailed in eight Premier League trips to Old Trafford and surrendered five points against Man United last term.

Add the capital club's tendency to collapse from week 27 onwards and you have an attractive case for backing the hosts to take all three points at 3.1511/5.

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses
Bet now

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles