It took some time for van Gaal to figure things out and to imprint his own style on the squad, but it's now starting to pay off and further improvement will continue to follow. What would have happened in the unlikely event that the club hierarchy had listened to the ridiculous calls to swing the axe?
In football, certain things are just inevitable. Brazil will never stop producing world-class talent, England will lose any penalty shootout they compete in, and Real Madrid will always get their man in the transfer market. The latter is something Manchester United fans will know too well.
Sometimes individuals vastly underachieve, but others will clear the bar that has been set for them, occasionally surprisingly so. Here's a look at six Premier League signings in 2014/15 that have far exceeded what was expected of them in their debut season with a new club.
It looks absolutely certain that Falcao will not be making his loan spell permanent in the summer, but if he does leave, there will be a sense of embitterment that could have been easily avoided.
Wednesday night, Manchester United took on Newcastle at Tyneside, and bagged all the three points after a smash-and-grab victory in the final minute. Here are four key points from the game.
The Dutchman has regularly been praised in the past for a strict no-nonsense style of coaching. But now, as he continues to search for tactical balance, seemingly in vain, that particular aspect of his personality could be what comes back to haunt him.
As a long-standing Spurs sympathiser, it's faintly disappointing to see them slide their way back out of the top six, but it's hard to seriously argue that it's not deserved.
Will Manchester United secure the future of David de Gea? How many new defenders will it take for them to look competent at the back? Who will be Manchester United's new creative genius in midfield? All pertinent questions. All of which need to be answered, preferably by the start of next season.
Every manager on the globe would've sacrificed their left arm to have a striking trio containing Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao at their disposal, right? For Louis van Gaal, the trio seem to give him more of a headache than anything else.
Compare former Manchester United midfielder Anderson with Cesc Fabregas in 2015 and people will rightfully question your sanity. But back when he first moved to England, however, it was actually a reasonable comparison...
Much has been, and will continue to be, made of the fact that on Friday night, United - even after spending £150m last summer - couldn't even manage to score against League Two outfit Cambridge United.
The 3-5-2 is a notoriously hard formation to get right. It requires very specific types of players who know their role inside out, but if done correctly it is arguably the best there is and with minor additions and alterations United would actually be incredibly well suited to it.
Manchester United have been far easier on the eyes this season, but they currently sit on 37 points after 21 games, exactly the same as this time last season when David Moyes was in charge. Just let that sink in for a moment.
As a Premier League fan, the prospect of a massive, three-way battle for the title between City, United and Chelsea - with Arsenal sticking their noses in every now and again - is mouth-wateringly exciting. The top tier without a strong United feels weird.
As much as it's always claimed that anybody can beat anybody in the Premier League, that's never true over the course of a full season. It's part of what makes league competitions so much better in many ways than cups - it's entertainingly open from week to week, while still ensuring that the winning team at the end of the season is almost always the best one.
An away win at high flying Swansea, an emphatic cup quarter final victory over Newcastle and, finally, the defeat of a lowly premier league team at home after the debacles against Stoke, West Brom and Palace have meant that Christmas has arrived slightly ahead of schedule for Tottenham fans.