Finding the balance is going to be difficult. In the 4-4-2 diamond formation, United enjoyed free-scoring performances but conceded too many and were weak in defence.
In the 4-3-3 formation today, United were in total control against Crystal Palace who sat very deep but failed to create any clear cut chances in the first half.
The balance which Louis van Gaal is craving is still proving itself to be elusive.
A win is a win. Results are all that is remembered in football and it’s good that United have got back to winning ways.
The performance was far from memorable but three points are in the bag which is crucial going into a two week international break.
It’s easier for Van Gaal to improve a winning side’s performances than it is to get a side winning in the first place.
Coming out of the defence with the ball. With Michael Carrick playing in front of two centre backs who were comfortable with the ball, McNair and Blind were able to bring the ball out of defence.
It’s something United haven’t done enough of this season and although there was a distinct lack of penetration in attack, the added dimension of ball playing centre backs who have the confidence and ability to bring it out of defence is a real asset.
Luke Shaw starting to settle down well. After a slow start to life at United that was marred by injuries, Shaw has blossomed in the last few games.
Today against a Palace side who didn’t threaten for the majority of the game, Shaw enjoyed plenty of space on the left hand side and had the ability to take advantage of it.
His run and shot in the first half was fantastic and he had the energy to get back into position afterwards, something Patrice Evra didn’t have in his latter years.
McNair was doing it out of defence and Wilson brought it into attack when he came off the bench by running into the space left by a puffing Palace defence.
Van Gaal has shown real faith in the youth at United this year and when two 19-year-old teenagers are the best players for United, it shows that faith has been repaid.