Handsome journalists on the internet were proven correct last month when a 1-0 loss to Southampton saw Manchester United give Ronald Koeman’s upstarts third place in the Premier League. Curiously, the conversation after the match was less about inept attacking or the new, slightly more perilous state of Manchester United’s Champions League hopes. Instead, pundits and supporters alike couldn’t help but dwell on one number: 37- the number of points Louis van Gaal and David Moyes each had after their first 21 league matches at the club.
The comparison was a jerk’s folly. When Manchester United revealed who Alex Ferguson had tabbed to be his successor, the majority of right-minded supporters felt Moyes deserved two years of support before being judged. Unfortunately, that never happened, but for the same reasons the former Everton boss deserved his time to shape the squad, van Gaal deserves his.
Yet rather than use van Gaal’s struggles to shed light on Moyes, possibly reevaluating what Ferguson left behind, some in the media and a small minority of zesty fans are going overboard in their criticism – hasty judgments given a weight they don’t deserve. They’ve made that assessment on the similarities to Moyes and a few valid points to draw a false equivalency, overlooking the scale of the problems van Gaal’s trying to resolve. The new manager is not only sorting out a mess left by Moyes, but he’s also facing the ordure dumped on him in the wake of Ferguson’s departure.