Louis van Gaal has his team doing something that none of the other top teams are doing.


Martin Keown admits he likes the approach Louis van Gaal has towards his Manchester United team and praises the Dutchman for using what he has to get results.

He told the Daily Mail: "Louis van Gaal has Manchester United doing something that none of the other top teams are - playing long balls.

"Time and time again his central defenders will bypass the midfield and aim straight for the front and I applaud it."

The Gunners legend believes the United boss is making the most of what he has available to get results, getting the ball quicker to his frontmen who can cause more harm to opposition defence.

"Van Gaal is playing to his strengths." the former England defender explained. "His best outfield players are Angel di Maria, Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata and he needs to get them on the ball as much as possible.

"There is no real need to pass through the compartments, especially when Michael Carrick is the only conventional midfielder in his team."

Keown who was a great defender in his playing days and won three Premier League and FA Cup titles at Arsenal is convinced the strategy Van Gaal is using is perfect for the players at his disposal and insists on other Premier League teams to use the same system.

"Being direct gets his danger men on the ball in danger areas. It happened time after time against Tottenham Hotspur so it is no surprise that only Burnley have played more long balls this season,” Keown continued.

"What is interesting is that United are not even that worried about whether Van Persie or Falcao win the initial header from the ball upfield - they just make sure that Rooney or Mata are there to pick up the knockdown, ready to cause problems in the final third. They can suffocate you with so much quality.

"It suits United’s defenders too. Paddy McNair, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are happier playing long balls as they are not confident enough to pick out more intricate passes.

"There is a lot to be said for a more direct approach at times. People talk about long balls and short balls but football is about playing the right ball.

"Too often the obsession with playing the ball through each compartment of the team again and again slows teams down.

"Aston Villa and Everton are two of the most guilty. Christian Benteke is one of the best strikers in the Barclays Premier League but he often leaves the pitch looking like he’s in a strop.

"You can’t blame him because he’s more or less ignored for 90 minutes as his team-mates fail to get the ball to him early. I’ve lost count of the number of times Tom Cleverley has a forward, diagonal pass available but turns round and plays it square because that is what he has been told to do.

"Romelu Lukaku is being similarly starved at Everton - he only had four touches in the opposition box at home to Stoke City last week.

"Van Gaal has clearly spotted this and it is reaping dividends - now it’s time for others to follow suit.

Written by @Chukkymufc


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