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Angel di Maria’s ban creates opportunities for others

by Sam Peoples

Angel di Maria will serve his one match suspension this weekend and miss Manchester United’s game against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Argentinian was sent off during Man United’s 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Monday after receiving two yellow cards in the space of a few seconds, the second of which was for inexplicably tugging referee Michael Oliver’s shirt.

For Di Maria, it’s a shame because he looked dangerous for the first time in a few appearances in the first-half against Arsenal but Man United will have to do without him on Sunday.

As a consequence of Di Maria’s ban, somebody else will get an opportunity and Juan Mata will be rubbing his hands together because he is surely in line to make his first Premier League start since the middle of January.

With Ashley Young and Adnan Januzaj flanking him on the wings, Mata could get his favoured no.10 role and up against a Tottenham Hotspur side who are very comfortable with the ball at their feet, United will need the guile of Mata rather than the brawn of Fellaini in the creative no.10 role.

Mata has suffered the same treatment as Ander Herrera once did before he managed to break his shackles and cement a regular place in van Gaal’s starting XI, something Mata will want to do if given the chance against Tottenham.

Previously when Wayne Rooney was suspended for three games, Mata had a similar chance but failed to take full advantage of it. He’ll be hoping for a different outcome this time and so will fans because many have been calling for Mata’s inclusion in van Gaal’s strongest side.

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