0 Dribbles; 0% shot-accuracy: What went wrong for Angel Di Maria versus Sunderland?

Angel Di Maria

Angel Di Maria had another disappointing afternoon as Manchester United overcame Sunderland.

Angel di Maria put in a rather subdued first-half performance against Sunderland in Manchester United's comprehensive 2-0 Premier League victory. Such was the level of his performance, he was withdrawn at half-time with youngster Adnan Januzaj sent on as his replacement.

Playing as a right winger in a 4-2-3-1 system, the Argentine midfielder lacked inspiration and therefore struggled to have any impact the game. Receiving the ball 37 times in the first half, he looked eager to dictate proceedings from out wide, but ultimately, he failed to have the necessary influence. 

Throughout the opening stages he kept giving away possession, as he frequently made the wrong decision. In terms of choosing when to pass or dribble, he always appeared to go with the wrong option. This saw him muscled off the ball far too often, while his distribution was equally as poor.

  TeamTouchesTotal ShotsShot Accuracy (%)Chances CreatedTotal PassesPass Accuracy (%)Total Take-onsTake-on SuccessMins Played
Ángel Di María Man Utd 40 2 0% 2 23 70 3 0 45

He failed in all three of his attempts to dribble through the Black Cats defence, with the free-kicks he received, as a consequence, proving his only saving grace. Meanwhile, he completed just 16 of 22 his total attempted passes. This saw his record a final success rate of 72.7% - an inferior total to any of his outfield teammates.

In a game where Manchester United were able to dictate possession, we witnessed just brief glimpses of buccaneering football on behalf of the Argentine midfielder. The Argentine appears bereft of confidence, and ultimately he does not seem relaxed enough to play his natural game; the game that earned him so much praise during his time at Real Madrid. 

Di Maria failed to create any meaningful opportunities, despite playing two key passes - one of which came from a corner - and while he offered brief glimpses of danger with his delivery from the right flank, his attacking team-mates were never in a position to capitilize. 

The home side looked lacklustre in the final third, particularly in the first half, with Ashley Young proving the only real source of danger. Di Maria managed two shots in total throughout his brief cameo, with one coming from open play - this was blocked - and another coming from a free-kick, just outside the 18-yard-box. 

As he stepped up to strike the ball at goal, he cut a nervy figure. Such was the story of his display, his eventual attempt looked weak and deflated. The Old Trafford faithful watched the ball fly over Costel Pantilimon in the Sunderland goal, as any remaining confidence left the Argentine international completely.

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