All season long, the 31-year-old has been lethargic with sub-par performances and failed to score enough goals, which has called into question his position in the team.
Up until this point Van Gaal hadn’t publicly lambasted Van Persie for his form but he has now adopted a different tactic when questioned by reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“You can count his touches on the ball and 13 is few for a striker,” said Van Gaal when asked about Van Persie’s performance against Arsenal.
“You know how strikers are. They feel they have to score goals.
“But more important is how he is playing. It was a very bad game for him. That is why I changed him.”
When quizzed about whether Wilson would start against Hull, Van Gaal remained coy and left the door firmly open: “We shall see tomorrow,” he responded.
“You shall see if I give him that confidence.”
It’s a markedly different approach from Van Gaal to discuss Van Persie’s individual form with the press and that in itself is indicative of just how bad the 31-year-old has been.
Not even a dramatic last minute equaliser against Chelsea was enough to kick start his season into gear, so being dropped from the side for an 18-year-old striker might be the only way for Van Persie to realise his place is not guaranteed any more and he has to start performing.