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Expect Van Gaal to be a tactic...
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Expect Van Gaal to be a tactical chameleon - Nevin

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

19:02 11 Aug 2014

Listen to the full interview above in the Off The Ball Football Show podcast which also includes Andrew Mangan's review of Arsenal's pre-season

If the World Cup is going to have one lasting legacy on the Premier League, it seems to be the popularity of the back three.

While the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Chile and Mexico used the 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 with success during the tournament, Holland's manager seems to be bringing it back to the Premier League in his new assignment with Manchester United, while a number of clubs are also tipped to use it at some point.

Pat Nevin, who was in Brazil for the World Cup, was back on Monday Night Off The Ball as the new season kicks into gear and he also noted that his former side Chelsea having been using it of late.

"Oddly enough last night, I watched Chelsea trying exactly the same thing against Ferencvaros. And you know what? It looked absolutely brilliant going forward. Defensively it was a total and utter shambles," said Nevin, who expects more teams to deviate from the recent staple 4-2-3-1 formation.

But he also does not buy into the theory that Van Gaal will stick to 3-5-2 all season.

Chelsea's Diego Costa celebrates his goal during the friendly soccer match between Fenerbahce and Chelsea in Istanbul, Turkey, 08 August 2014. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

"Don't fall for Van Gaal saying that he's only going to play 3-5-2. No chance! He will completely adapt that throughout the season," said Nevin, who also expects United to bring in a number of players to strengthen the squad.

He also believes it is a big ask for Van Gaal to win the Premier League in his first season as the team adjusts to a new manager and tactics.

Chelsea is the team that he expects to be "there or thereabouts" at the end of the season when the league winners' medals are being handed out.

"It's the best balanced Chelsea squad I've seen for quite a number of years. There's cover in absolutely every position," said Nevin, who expects Fabregas to play a deep-lying role beside Nemenja Matic.

He also feels that new striker Diego Costa is the "missing link" Chelsea have been looking for in their recent evolution and thinks this could be the year Eden Hazard takes the next campaign by storm.

As for Liverpool, Nevin believes the Reds have enough good players to cope with Luis Suarez departure and thinks that Man City have are not much stronger and may have a problem if Yaya Toure misses any action.

He also gave his tips for the main title challengers during the 2014/15 season.

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