Stoke City 2 Manchester United 0
It was imperative that van Gaal stopped the rot and quickly. So, with that in mind, he chose a side that had the huge responsibility of possibly saving his job. The starting XI he went for was: De Gea, Young, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Memphis and Martial.
Martial had the opportunity to keep his goal scoring on the rise as he would spearhead the attack with the support of Memphis and Mata.
It was a blustery Britannia Stadium that welcomed both sets of fans looking to blow off their Christmas day festivities and get right behind the two teams. The main concern for the away fans had to be the form of Stoke's mercurial player Shaqiri.
United got the game underway with Fellaini starting the match playing in the number 10 position with Herrera lying deeper in the midfield, which bearing in mind the conditions wouldn't suit any high balls up to the Belgian.
It was clear from the outset that like most teams playing United this season Stoke were not afraid of a Red Devils team that was clearly short on confidence.
United were guilty of providing the opposition far too much time on the ball and the home side seemed to enjoy running at the visitors with Shaqiri especially in the mood against Blind on the right wing.
Then the pressure was really put onto van Gaal's shoulders after Stoke won a free-kick right on the edge of the area after a handball by Young. The resulting free-kick was played square and up stepped striker Arnautovic to slam home a thunderbolt into the back of De Gea's net to make it 2-0.
Once again, no words could describe the state of United's play to put themselves into the position of being behind after half an hour. They only had themselves to blame.
Fellaini had another opportunity to grab a goal back, however, not for the first time this season he dithered on the ball at the crucial moment. United did manage to end the half with a flurry of corners, none of which troubled the home defence.
Devoid of ideas in all departments United went in at half-time having not only conceded two goals, but, more worringly, having not shown any of the conviction that is expected from players wearing the famous shirt.
The last time United came back from two goals down to win in a Premier League game was on the same day in 2013 away at Hull City. Just didn't get the feeling that was going to happen in this game.
The second half got underway with van Gaal making the expected change with Rooney replacing Memphis in the attack and at least they started on the front foot showing the urgency needed. Having said that the attacks lacked any fluid movement and were easily cancelled out by the home defence.
Young tried his best down the right wing and one of his attempted crosses was almost met by Rooney's head.
Fellaini was presented with a chance on a plate following great work on the byline by Rooney, but his close range shot was straight at the keeper when it looked odds on he would score. Then Mata had a sneaky effort saved under the bar by Butland.
Young saved United from any further damage with a superb interception to prevent Arnautovic getting onto a through ball to score his second. Great defensive play from Young, who to his credit hadn't stopped running up and down his wing all day.
The faces in the away dug out painted a picture that must have been shared by the millions of bewildered fans watching around the world the only difference being the men on the bench had the responsibility of doing something about the situation, but as always they sat unanimated at a time when the side needed leadership. Especially bearing in mind former red Mark Hughes never left the touchline and his team was winning.
Pereira almost instantly made up for his mistake with a pass that provided Martial with a shooting chance that was well saved by Butland low to his left.
Game over and another defeat for the Red Devils with the question being how will van Gaal be able to survive this massive setback after his words of solidarity prior to the match?
Clearly, all is not well in-house and with the home fans taunting the beleaguered Dutch coach by chanting his colleague Jose's name, you really have to wonder if he will indeed call it a day himself and let someone else pick up the pieces.
However, that man should not be Ryan Giggs as being a legend doesn't suddenly make you a great manager. We need someone special who can reinvigorate and reinvent the side back to winning ways.
Whatever happens, in the next few days, it will be interesting to say the least, especially when you consider who United face at Old Trafford on Monday.
Thanks for reading.