For the time being, at least, we seem to have seen the end of Louis van Gaal's tinkering. The recent switch away from the depressingly slow midfield diamond to a 4-2-3-1 (or what van Gaal seems to refer to as a 4-3-3) has seen great rewards reaped, and the Dutch manager has discussed the success of his new strategy in an interview with Sky Sports.
Quoted in the Manchester Evening News, van Gaal said:
"It's always dependent on the players involved, but everybody knows the system I prefer is 1-4-3-3 with a No.10 or No.6. A holding midfielder or a No.10 player behind the strikers. It's dependable of the quality of the players, but also of the opponent.
"But I prefer it because that's the easiest system to dominate the game because it is over the whole pitch triangles and that gives the players always two options at least. But I have played with several other systems because of the quality of the players who were available in that moment."
It's certainly true to say that the new shape seems to give United more attacking options, with Ashley Young and -- to a lesser extent -- Juan Mata able to stretch the opponents with width in a way we were unable to with a narrow diamond. Of course, in brilliant van Gaal English, it is always "dependable" on the opponent, but things finally seem to be looking up.