Manchester United crisis: Five reasons why it could be another season of woe for United

United have not clicked so far under Louis van Gaal

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The Independent Football

1. Louis van Gaal's 3-5-2

David Moyes's successor is sticking to his guns with his 3-5-2 formation, despite it not working at all. Against Swansea on the opening day and then MK Dons in the League Cup last night his players looked terribly exposed down the flanks, and not sure at all of their places in the formation. If the awful start continues if may be a case of what goes first - the manager or 3-5-2.

2. Angel Di Maria

The British-record £60m signing joined yesterday as the man to bring United back to their dizzying league-winning heights, however, Di Maria's open letter to Real Madrid fans spoke of his sadness that he had to leave Real. And while he has been far from a failure, the last big name arrival to the Premier League from Real, Mesut Ozil, has not had the match-winning qualities his team desperately needed and that his price-tag warranted.

3. Squad-depth

The names of Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett in United's starting XI for their opening defeat by Swansea City showed just how much of a lack of depth there is in the current United squad. Daley Blind, Arturo Vidal and Nigel de Jong have all been linked with the club this summer. How they need them all before the transfer window closes in five days.

Angel Di Maria is 'ready to play' according to Van Gaal

Tyler Blackett in action against Swansea City


4. Has Van Gaal already written off the season?

"We are building a team which we cannot make in one month or even one year. It is very disappointing," Van Gaal admitted after the torrid 4-0 defeat by League One MK Dons last night. There goes this season's expectations then...

David Moyes lasted 10 months at United before he was sacked


5. Poor start

Two defeats, one draw, seven goals conceded, two goals scored. That's Van Gaal's record from his first three Manchester United matches. During David Moyes' first three matches as United manager they had won two, drawn one, scored six and conceded one - and he was sacked after 10 months in charge.