First things first. Angel Di Maria is obviously a quality player, capable of moments worthy of winning any game. The incredible form shown last year for Real Madrid made him an integral part of the Champions league winning side. Dare I say even more so than the obvious star Ronaldo. After a blistering start for #Manchester United, which included three goals and three assists in his first 5 games, his form has slipped so much, to the point where some fans are starting to question his price tag.
The situation at Manchester United has not helped matters. The club is firmly in a transitional period, after the Moyes debacle last season, and the chronic lack of investment in key areas such as midfield under Sir Alex Ferguson. Louis Van Gaals constant tinkering with tactics and the formation has also hindered his progress. One week he'll be playing as striker and the next in a midfield two, expected to do his fair share of defensive work. Every new player needs time to gel into the side and get used to the new surroundings, Di Maria is no different. However, the amount of money paid for him puts pressure on him to perform straight from the off.
Hauled off at half time against Sunderland after an extremely poor showing, you got the sense Di Maria was trying too hard. Simple things like trapping the ball and short passing deserted him. He could have redeemed himself right at the end of the half where he should have slid the ball to an onrushing Ashley Young, however he chose the harder option of looking for Radamel Falcao. Over thinking at its pinnacle.
Di Maria was never the obvious star at Real Madrid, that mantle was firmly in the possession of Cristiano Ronaldo. He was part of the exceptional supporting cast. Coming into a side where he is expected to be the key man, even amongst the big names must have been a shock to the system. At times when United have been struggling, the ball has come to Di Maria and he looks bereft off ideas.
Louis Van Gaal has to help get Di Maria get back to top form we all know he is capable of. Carlo Ancelotti's masterstroke of moving the Argentine into the left of a midfield three enabled Real Madrid to take advantage of Di Marias intense work rate and dribbling. This was continued at the start of this season when playing the diamond formation and Di Maria thrived. Since then the 3-5-2 formation had been preferred, this led to Di Maria playing in a midfield two where he was too deep to influence the game. At times Rooney would play in midfield while Di Maria was up front with his back to goal. A simple switch would've allowed both players to rediscover their best form. But the sheer stubbornness of Van Gaal stopped that from happening.
Low on confidence, Di Maria has to get back to basics and start enjoying his #Football again. Get back to receiving the ball deep and link with the men in front of him. A run of games in his favoured position and we could start to see the Di Maria that we saw for a split second at the start of this season. Otherwise, the shouts of 'flop' might get louder. #Premier League