Another 0-0 draw for van Gaal's 'boring' United
Scholes could be right about 'boring' United under van Gaal after all
CRYSTAL PALACE 0
MAN UNITED 0
Names may not hurt Louis van Gaal, but his sticks-and-stones philosophy causes increasing harm to Manchester United.
The Dutchman's reign is proving far more endurable than it has ever been enjoyable for the Old Trafford faithful.
Not only have his United side revived the "boring, boring" title often bestowed to the Arsenal sides of the 1970s and 1980s - they have made it their own in an era where panache is actively encouraged.
Maybe Paul Scholes was onto something after all.
Establishing foundations following the disarray of David Moyes' short-lived tenure was paramount, but United continue to appear devoid of creativity; far removed from Scholes' illustrious "Class of 92" and the much-vaunted glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Van Gaal can no longer hide behind claims of the competitive nature of the English Premier League, described as a "rat race".
He is responsible for the failure to launch of his supposed revolution - he has been the main architect of United's downfall.
Where results once vindicated his pragmatism, they now threaten to condemn him.
Upgrading United from 16 points in 11 EPL games last season to 21 from the same tally deserves recognition, but substance has suffocated any semblance of style.
History tends to cloud the fact that Ferguson's all-conquering sides did not always deliver performances as sparkling as the champagne often sprayed across the Old Trafford turf annually at the end of May. The good, however, far outweighed the underwhelming.
More often than not, United under van Gaal resemble tepid water; growing increasingly stagnant with every dismal draw and dispirited performance. The gulf currently separating them from leaders Manchester City is far greater than just three places and two points.
Invariably, the focus for those shortcomings will again fall upon Wayne Rooney.
After United's drought extended to beyond five hours, it is little wonder.
But with the burden of expectancy personally placed upon him by van Gaal, similarly, it is no surprise that the England international continues to flounder on a weekly basis.
Mario Gomez's nine touches per game at Bayern Munich has been set as the yardstick for the maligned United captain to rediscover the goal- scoring touch.
He had 20 in the first half alone and still appeared no closer to adding to his tally following a three-week lull.
Wayne Hennessey, the Crystal Palace goalkeeper, remained untroubled by Rooney at every opportunity; from dead-ball to through-ball.
His heavy touch in a one-two with Ander Herrera broke down what proved to be a limited opportunity for United in attack.
He was later shunted to a wide role in order for Anthony Martial to be allowed to flourish in the central position - confirmation, were it needed, that he has become an affliction to a United side desperately in need of finesse.
Where he once thrived in a one-on-one situation, played in by Martial, he failed to maintain his pace and capitalise on Palace's slack defending.
There appears to be no way back for a player who has lost his way as he enters the twilight of a once-illustrious career.
That darkness threatens to linger over United, as much as it will Rooney, for some considerable time.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Wayne Hennessey, Martin Kelly, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Joel Ward, Yohan Cabaye (Mile Jedinak 79), James McArthur, Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon, Yannick Bolasie, Dwight Gayle
MAN UNITED: David de Gea, Matteo Darmian (Ashley Young 65), Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Marouane Fellaini 68), Juan Mata (Jesse Lingard 78), Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney
- Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3
- Man City 2 Norwich 1
- Newcastle 0 Stoke 0
- Swansea 0 Arsenal 3
- Watford 2 West Ham 0
- West Brom 2 Leicester 3
- Everton v Sunderland (9.30pm)
- Southampton v Bournemouth (11.55pm)
- Tottenham v Aston Villa (4am)