Angel Di Maria was somewhat surprisingly selected to play up front alongside Robin van Persie against Southampton but despite his pace and trickery, the new United no.7 struggled to create anything throughout the match.
It was frustrating as supporters went into the game full of hope; Di Maria was back, the side had just one injury and should have put Southampton rivals to the sword given their almost flawless home form this season.
But in the end United didn’t manage a single shot on target, the first time they’ve managed that at Old Trafford since 2009. Di Maria himself was brought off once United fell behind and the fans want to see him in his proper position.
Di Maria deep was working, he was awesome. Then moved out wide and up top and it hasnt worked.
— Vik (@IconicNumber7) January 11, 2015
Di Maria needs to drop back into midfield, doesn't look comfortable up there
— Nicole (@NickiDupre) January 11, 2015
If ever a game needed Di Maria in a deeper MF role, this was it
— nik (@Sleepy_Nik) January 11, 2015
Di Maria playing as a back to defender striker? Just made it to not the European team of the year as a CM ffs
— BeautifullyRed (@BeautifullyRed) January 11, 2015
Di Maria up top today was also ridiculous. Our most creative player forced out the game because of a lack of service funnily enough.
— Alex Simmonds (@alex_simmo) January 11, 2015
Di Maria was poor, not sure why he was played up front
— harry (@Baeley_Blind) January 11, 2015
Whilst Van Gaal explained after the match that it seemed Di Maria would have been brought off anyway due to lack of game time, his performance was still disappointing given he returned last weekend and then got a week’s rest.
But despite using his pace and skill to trouble Southampton’s defence, the irony was that in the Argentinian’s absence, United had almost no creativity from midfield.
With a kind run of games coming up over the next month or so, supporters will hope Di Maria is returned the position he looked so effective in when first joining the club.