0% shot accuracy, 14% cross accuracy: Angel Di Maria's abysmal first-team return

Manchester United's Angel Di Maria faced an immense struggle as he made his return to the starting line-up versus Southampton.

Southampton won at Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League era on Sunday as they beat Manchester United 1-0. An underwhelming Red Devils side struggled to create chances for much of the afternoon and ended the game without having registered a single shot on target.

This tie marked the comeback of £59.7 million summer singing Angel Di Maria. Making his first start in nearly two months, the Argentine’s return was much anticipated amongst the United faithful, but ultimately it proved to be a huge disappointment. As the hosts faltered in the final third, so did the former Real Madrid winger.

  PositionKey PassesPassesPass Acc (%)ShotsShot Acc (%)Dribble Succ (%)Cross Acc (%)TouchesMins
Ángel Di María FW 1 21 62 3 0 0 14 39 72

Deployed in Louis van Gaal's 'Arjen Robben' role - the position occupied by the prolific Bayern Munich star for much of the World Cup - Di Maria struggled to get hold of the game. He failed to settle alongside Robin van Persie, while his touch, passing and shooting were all off.

His distribution was utterly abysmal, as he completed just 62% of his attempts to find a team-mate, his attempts at goal were inaccurate - 0% shot accuracy - and his chance creation proved almost non-existent. He failed to complete a single take-on, while managing just one accurate cross.

Understandably, the Argentine international didn't look anywhere near as sharp as he had done prior to his spell on the sidelines, and while he caused the Southampton defence a few problems, the danger he posed was minimal.

In hindsight, van Gaal's decision to deploy him as a striker, as opposed to Radamel Falcao - who found himself emitted from the Dutchman's entire match-day squad - was a tactical error. 

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