After a shaky start to the season, things seem to be back in order for Manchester United and following two consecutive victories – the Red Devils now find themselves placed in fourth position in the league.
Despite their lofty league position though, it has to be said that the Red Devils have been far from convincing so far and van Gaal may well have been counting his lucky stars after his side scraped to victory over West Ham United and Everton.
United were far from convincing against Everton
As a result, it is still far too early to say with conviction that United are definite contenders for a top four finish this season.
United now prepare for a tough away clash against West Bromwich Albion and the match will surely be a litmus test of the Red Devils’ true credentials.
The Hawthorns is a very difficult place to travel and given the fact that United are winless away from home this season, it looks set to be an interesting battle between the two sides.
Following his inconsistent performances over the past few weeks, David De Gea was once again at his best against Everton, where he single handedly kept the Toffees’ attack at bay with some magnificent saves.
And just when it looked like things could not get any better, De Gea has seemingly been placed as number one goalkeeper for the Spain national team ahead of Iker Casillas and it is fair to say that the young Spaniard is in cloud nine at the moment.
De Gea was brilliant last time out
However, De Gea cannot afford to rest on his laurels for too long and will now have to refocus his attention for the tough clash against West Bromwich Albion.
While De Gea may be enjoying a fine run of form, the Baggies certainly possess a host of top attacking players and the Spaniard will have to be at his best once again to deny the hosts in the day.
As a big boost for United, central defenders Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans have all returned to training over the last fortnight and should be in contention for a start against West Brom.
The impressive Paddy McNair is a doubt for United so Jones seems the likely candidate to replace the young man in central defence alongside Marcos Rojo, while Smalling and Evans will in all likelihood have to contend with a place on the bench as the duo are said to be not fully match fit.
Phil Jones could make his return to the starting eleven
In the full back positions, Rafael and Luke Shaw should retain their place following a couple of impressive performances over the past few weeks but young Tyler Blackett will also be in contention if van Gaal decides to shuffle his pack.
Captain Wayne Rooney is still out with suspension so Juan Mata is set to continue in the playmaker’s position and behind the Spaniard; the neat and tidy Daley Blind looks a certain starter in the defensive midfield area.
Talisman Angel Di Maria will be providing the creative spark from the left flank for United and will once again prove to be vital for the Red Devils in unlocking the stubborn West Bromwich backline.
Herrera could make a quicker than anticipated return from injury
However, it remains to be seen who will be deployed in the opposite side. Ander Herrera was said to be out for six weeks due to a broken rib but it has emerged that the midfielder has made a quicker than anticipated recovery and is in contention to start on Monday night.
If van Gaal decides not to rush Herrera though, the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Darren Fletcher are also good options. Michael Carrick and Ashley Young have returned to training and will be pushing for a start as well.
Van Persie has not been at his best this season
The superstar striking pair of Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie will once again start for United and the duo will look to wreak havoc on the opposition defenders once again.
While both Falcao and van Persie have not looked at their best so far this season, the two possess a fantastic ability to convert any chances that come their way and the Baggies backline will certainly have to be on their guard to negate the threat posed by the duo.