Sergio Aguero's goal handed Manchester City the win, in a game where United's threadbare defence was once again exposed.
Chris Smalling received two ludicrous yellow cards and subsequently his marching orders, before Marcos Rojo's wild lunge led to him dislocating his shoulder.
With Rafael, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones all out injured already, van Gaal was left with a back four of Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Patrick McNair and Luke Shaw - that's a right winger, central midfielder, reserve centre back and teenage left back.
Whilst the Dutchman has problems in defence, the long awaited return of Carrick was a boost. The 33-year-old has been out of action since van Gaal arrived, and whilst he featured at centre back yesterday, ex-West Ham United defender Tony Gale says that he shouldbe playing in midfield ahead of Daley Blind.
"It was just a makeshift defence," Gale told Sky Sports News. "Michael Carrick has played their before. It is great to see Michael back because he is better than Daley Blind without a shadow of a doubt. He can go into that position or can play a holding role."
When United's centre backs return to action, that's exactly the quandary van Gaal will be faced with. Blind is nine years younger than Carrick and has so far been superb, passing the ball well, being calming presence in midfield and dropping in between the centre backs.
Regardless of the service that Carrick has given to the Red Devils since his 2006 move from Tottenham, Blind is the present and the future of the United midfield, and given his understanding of van Gaal's methods from his time under him with the Netherlands, Blind should be the choice every time - no matter what Gale suggests.