Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has had his share of criticism this season but his decision to subsitute Ashley Young for Radamael Falcao and move Marouane Fellaini to forward against Preston North End was a stroke of genius. The progression has been there and was noticeable especially against West Ham a couple of weeks ago. With 15 minutes left Van Gaal subbed in Fellaini and started to play more direct and it resulted in a goal and the tie for Man United. Van Gaal came under fierce criticisim for going direct and was even chided by West Ham Manager Sam Allardyce for doing so. The point was moot and the move worked just as it did at Preston North End.
Fellaini up top gives Manchester United a physical presence and allows them to play direct to the box and allow Fellaini to connect with the likes of Rooney, Van Persie and Di Maria. It also allows Van Gaal to move Juan Mata on to the field in a playmaker role and maybe a move to a 4-3-3 with Daley Blind and Michael Carrick holding down the middle in the back line and Mata teamed up with Ashley Young and Di Maria on the wings with Fellaini, Van Persie, Rooney and James Wilson and Falcao rotating up front could begin to put significant pressure on opposing back lines.