Angel Di Maria had potentially his worst game in a Manchester United shirt as Southampton took all three points from Old Trafford on Sunday.
Excitement around Di Maria’s return to the eleven blinded supporters from the position he was playing and the subsequent no-show from the no.7 shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Playing with his back to goal in a position alongside Robin van Persie, similar to the one Louis van Gaal played Arjen Robben in during the World Cup, Di Maria struggled to use his pace and skill to his advantage, often having to come deep to collect the ball.
But even when he did get a run together, his shots left little to be desired, his passes couldn’t find their target and he wasn’t able to influence the game at all.
Angel Di Maria’s game by numbers: 0% shot accuracy 0% take-ons completed 0% crosses completed 0 key passes 60% pass accuracy.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 11, 2015
Di Maria was hauled off with less than twenty minutes to go although since then it emerged Di Maria’s substitution was planned given the lack of minutes on the pitch for the midfielder over Christmas.
But fans shouldn’t write off Di Maria, when he first arrived at Old Trafford he showed why he has been named in the FIFA and UEFA teams of the year. He was superb in his opening games playing in a midfield diamond, scoring and assisting on his debut before doing the same at Leicester a week later.
The Argentinian then repeated the feat once more against Everton before injuries started to hinder his campaign. Even last weekend against Yeovil, Di Maria showed his class to run through late on and cooly chip home the clincher.