The prospects for a reversal of fate and a return to glory are conflicted in light of recent transfer news as Van Gaal continues to add attacking players to the side, despite the evident lack of quantity of quality defenders to fill the backline.
At the half-hour mark, Manchester United's attack looked tense and toothless, their passing remaining bogged down in the midfield and even their set pieces not producing shots, let alone shots on target.
Sport provides a syntax of connection between people who can otherwise find such connection hard. Michael Tierney has written a beautiful and lyrical memoir, The First Game With My Father, about this transformative power of sport.
No club wants to have a goalkeeper stand out as its best player. Tottenham's Hugo Lloris said as much late in the season. "If the goalkeeper is man of the match, then it means the team didn't do the job properly."
You will laugh at this prognostication now, but pull this article up in ten years, and I will be the Amazing Creskin and Nostradamus, on his better days: The NFL will be the No. 2 league in American sports. World football will rule.