On to Burnley, Van Gaal needs a Man United win

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm •  Published: August 28, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — From the World Cup semifinals to a bruising introduction in Britain, Louis van Gaal's fortunes have changed rapidly inside two months.

The coach who led the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup enters his fourth match as Manchester United manager still searching for his first win.

After a loss and a draw in his opening Premier League games came the humiliating defeat at third-tier club MK Dons in the League Cup on Tuesday. Next up is a trip to Premier League newcomer Burnley on Saturday.

Here are some things to know about this weekend's matches:

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MAN UNITED

If Van Gaal is to improve on the seventh-place finish under David Moyes, United's fortunes will need to improve quickly.

Van Gaal points to United's 10 injuries, with offseason recruit Anders Herrara joining the casualty list. But after spending a British record 59.7 million pounds ($99 million) this week for Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid, the Argentina forward will be expected to lead United's upturn, starting at Burnley on Saturday.

"He should indeed be a player who the fans should enjoy," Van Gaal said Thursday.

But the problems seem to be in defense, with MK Dons finding space too easily against a second-string United to score four times.

Van Gaal disagrees.

"Our problem is when we have the ball and we have to build up the play and that we have to play," the Dutchman said. "I don't think our defense is weak. Our buildup is still not good enough and we will improve that but it needs time."

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ARSENAL STRIKER SHORTAGE

The season is only two weeks old and already Arsenal is short of center forward options.

The relief for Arsene Wenger after picking up four points from the first two league games is that qualification for the group stage of the Champions League was secured on Wednesday.

Wenger maintains there will be no panic purchase to fill the void left by Olivier Giroud being ruled out until at least the end of December with a broken tibia. Wenger's immediate striking options on Sunday at Leicester are Lukas Podolski, newcomer Alexis Sanchez, who is more accustomed to playing on the wing, and the inexperienced Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell.

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