AFC Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 1
With the amount of players missing United were ripe for the picking by The Cherries and that's exactly how it transpired on the south coast.
After the woes of Wolfsburg, it was supposed to be back to the bread and butter of the Premier League for United and a trip to take on and overpower Bournemouth, but his season has already proven that there are no easy matches and this was in evidence last week when Bournemouth beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Prior to this match, United were still in the mix at the top of the league and desperately needed a win to not only boost their ambitions of becoming champions for the first time since 2013 but to make a statement of intent to their many critics. This meant that the pressure was on for van Gaal and his team to turn things around.
Anybody who thinks the German star got banned on purpose to continue his tradition of a winter break must be very cynical indeed.
The side that van Gaal chose had a mixture of experience and youth as his hand had been forced due to the length of the injury list endured in recent weeks.
The first start for Borthwick-Jackson in defence alongside a back four including McNair, Blind and Varela gave the visitors an unfamiliar look at the back.
At least United rallied and responded with a few chances and then a goal of their own before the half hour mark. After Memphis had done the hard work Fellaini was able to prod the ball home almost in a kneeling position. United will take the goals any way they can come these days.
He's young and has time on his side and can only benefit from this experience, but the same can't be said about Blind who clearly struggled as the main defender without his partner Smalling.
He was terribly slow in picking up his man, the eventual scorer, at the corner from which the home side took the lead. If Blind had been more alert to the danger then the goal could have been averted.
Memphis once again failed to raise his game and his only telling contribution was in the build up to Fellaini's equaliser add that to the loss of Lingard through yet another injury to a United player and it's no surprise that Martial struggled to get into his stride. Pereira tried his utmost to get the play moving from the right, but in the end it all lacked the penetration needed as both Carrick and Mata had matches they would probably both want to forget.
Both manager and players shouldn't offer any more excuses and get down to the nitty-gritty of solving the problems that quite clearly exist within the system the manager is trying to instil in them before it becomes a problem that is too difficult and too late to overcome.
Some offers are hard to turn down and no fan would blame him for wanting to test himself at pastures new.
Thanks for reading.