Out of contract in the summer and therefore likely to be available on cut-price deals in January, here's a look at six short term options for van Gaal and United - any of which could be valuable assets over the next couple of years.
If Wayne Rooney had been Argentinian or Brazilian, he may well have been the poster boy of a football mad nation. Unfortunately for Wayne, however, he's English and gets lambasted after almost every performance.
Scotland's 1-3 loss against England was the most recent entry into the annals of brutal football slapdowns; those moments where a team gets a glimpse of success, only to see the door of fate slam shut in their face...
Manchester City won their second Premier League crown last term, but are already playing catchup in this season's title race after a string of poor results over the first three months of the campaign. But the current City team isn't alone in melting under the pressure when it comes to defending the title, with several spectacular examples over the years.
Many of the same supporters that once bemoaned his very existence are raving about the star with the famous afro. It highlights the fickle nature of the modern fan and what many couldn't or simply refused to see is that Marouane Fellaini's status as a Manchester United player actually made incredible sense from the very start.
The easy explanation of Manchester United's dramatic-fashioned equaliser against Chelsea on Sunday is to blame it on Ivanovic's dismissal. Despite the second booking obviously not was being irrelevant, José Mourinho didn't help himself through applying a zonal marking approach on set pieces.
So is he really worth it all?... If Rooney continues to score it will remain tough to drop him, but if his performances continue to wane his managers' hands may well be forced.
While not a carbon copy of Mourinho's 4-1-2-1-2, Manchester United, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool have all, at one point or another deployed a diamond midfield in the 2014/15 campaign. The 4-3-1-2 allows teams to maintain numbers in the middle of the park, but means managers can field a creator in between the midfield and attack.
In a way, Louis van Gaal has a lot to thank David Moyes for. If it weren't for the Scot lowering the bar like a particularly enthusiastic assistant at a limbo dancing competition, Van Gaal would've been under much heavier fire for his side's dreadful opening month of the season.
Roy Keane was a great footballer. The absolute perfect blend of being fearless and feared. This week, extracts of his latest autobiography, The Second Half, have been released through the Great British Press. My suspicions are all but confirmed: he is an appalling human being .
Of the four, only Manchester United currently lie above Spurs - on goal difference - but they look more and more like the modern version of Ossie Ardiles's flaky 1994 Tottenham team which had the best attack in the league and the worst defence.
Despite his well documented frustration at Manchester United, the Scot is a highly respected manager with unquestioned ability. He may just be the man that Newcastle need to turn them into a consistent top-half side.
If his attitude and form don't improve dramatically before Christmas, some hard decisions will have to be made. Van Gaal has a history of not respecting reputations, and he may well go back on his promise to play Rooney if he deems it necessary.
When Burnley first entered the Premier League back in 2009 they may have been relegated finishing 18th, but at least Turf Moor became somewhat intimidating as they won their first four fixtures at home. So far two draws and a defeat hasn't set them up anywhere near as well as for that season, and they went back down then!
Losing your best player will always have an adverse effect on a team. Liverpool have struggled this season following the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, while Tottenham failed to sufficiently replace Gareth Bale after his record breaking move to Real Madrid. Athletic Club are following suit having floundered through the first 6 weeks of the campaign on the back of Ander Herrera's big money move to Manchester United.
It is utterly bemusing that the team still possesses such imbalance that they will - until serious changes are made - still be fully capable of being out-scored. By the time January comes around and yet more millions are dished out on the one area of the team most glaringly in need of strengthening, it could be too late.