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LvG already under big pressure

Former Liverpool player and manager, Kenny Dalglish said it perfectly:

“Louis van Gaal may have had difficult starts at Bayern Munich and Barcelona – but nothing like this. I don’t know how much pressure the Dutchman was actually under at those clubs but this, at Manchester United, might just be the most extreme pressure he has ever experienced.”

While some United fans would want to disagree with that, Dalglish hasn’t said anything wrong. After the disaster year that followed David Moyes’ managerial stint, Old Trafford was crying for a saviour. After rejecting Jose Mourinho a year earlier, who better than the Chelsea manager’s old mentor, Louis van Gaal to rectify all that’s gone wrong?

While the Dutchman drew plenty of plaudits and did well to steer Holland to a third place finish in the 2014 World Cup – when many were expecting them to finish behind Chile and Spain in the group – it has also massively increased the expectations on the former Bayern manager.

Louis van Gaal

It’s fair to say many expected him to hit the ground running – with no Champions League football either, van Gaal could solely focus on the league; something which has helped Roma, Juventus and most recently last season, Liverpool, with the decrease in fixtures.

However, it’s been anything but. United lost their opener at home against Swansea City while drawing with Sunderland away after taking the lead. To add insult to injury, League One side, MK Dons thrashed United 4-0 in the Capital One Cup.

It was always going to take time but not even the most pessimistic United fan would have expected a winless first three games of the season. To make matters more worrying is the fact that United have spent quite a lot this season – £59.7 million for Angel di Maria, £30 million for Luke Shaw and £28.5 million on Ander Herrera. And they might even spend more with the rumours of Arturo Vidal.

With these transfers, it’s interesting to note that Moyes never got his targets or spent this much in the summer preceding his first season, having an inferior squad to van Gaal. Sir Alex Ferguson also once mentioned £34 million being too much for one player – Eden Hazard in particular.

Of course, di Maria hasn’t played yet and the 3-5-2 formation could take time, but do United really have time on their side? With just two games in, they’re already 5 points behind the leaders and face a tricky away tie to Burnley. Confidence is already pretty low and another setback could have big consequences – van Gaal is already under big pressure.

Moyes never lost a game by more than 3 goals and van Gaal has already done that in his third game. He has the mentality, experience and personality to get United back on track but if things keep going this way, at what point do we stop defending the Dutchman?

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Who’ll win the Premier League in 2015?

Once all the furore around the World Cup has settled down – we’ll have a few weeks off then it will be time for the new seasons again all across Europe’s big leagues. And amongst these leagues there are none more interesting or competitive than England’s Premier League. But who will win it next season?

Premier League

Well it would seem to be between five teams. As things stand, José Mourinho’s Chelsea are marginal favourites to win – just ahead of last year’s champions Man City. But there’s not much to choose between the two at somewhere around 2/1. Then there’s a bit of a gap to Man United who may be rejuvenated under new boss Louis van Gaal who is currently doing a great job steering Holland through the World Cup. United are 11/2.

Louis van Gaal

They’re followed in the betting by last year’s runners-up Liverpool at around 8-1 and Arsenal at around 9/1. This year, Liverpool will have a Champions League campaign which may prove enervating – something they didn’t have to deal with last year. But even more importantly, of course, the signs are that they may be losing the serial biter and star player Luis Suarez to Barcelona for what will, presumably, be an enormous fee.

Of the five – Arsenal seem to be the value bet. The Gunners led the league for a long time at the start of last season before running out of steam and finishing fourth. But they were absolutely beset by injury problems and had looked very strong until that occurred. What’s more – they enjoyed a long and arduous FA Cup run as well as the Champions League. And whilst Gunners fans were delighted to see them lift the FA Cup in May – they’d much prefer Premier League success, so that is surely where Arsene Wenger’s focus will be this season. It would be no great surprise to see Arsenal exit both cup competitions early on as they concentrate on league success; time will tell.

Mourinho

Otherwise a lot will depend on what Mourinho, van Gaal, Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers and Man City’s Manuel Pellegrini do in the transfer market before the start of the season. Or maybe the new man at the helm at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino will make a few moves of his own a spring a surprise? If his record at Southampton is anything to go by – he could well so that. Spurs are currently a whopping 50-1 with 32Red. And it may be that you can qualify for a free bet here. If you click here to visit 32Red online casino, you’ll soon see that you qualify for up to £160 free if you haven’t previously registered with the site. So if you’re lucky enough and retain the free cash or maybe even win a bit more – you could end up with a free bet on next year’s Premier League winner – but who will that be exactly!?