The duo both arrived in the Premier League from Spain’s La Liga in the summer for big-money sums and carry that South American swagger which often leaves fans drooling.
However, on the basis of this campaign, that is where outspoken pundit Robbie Savage feels the comparisons ultimately end as he assesses the duo’s respective performances so far this season.
“Like Di Maria, Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez is South American, small in stature and with bags of pace and attacking skill. Both of them arrived from a La Liga superpower in the summer for massive money, and with a big reputation too. Unfortunately for United's £59.7m man, they do not have much in common when it comes to what they have done since,” Savage wrote in his BBC Sport column.
“For me, Sanchez has been one of the signings of the season at £35m from Barcelona, not far behind Chelsea duo Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa - who look like they are going to win the league.
“In contrast, Di Maria has been the biggest disappointment.
“Sanchez has been a great example of that with the way he has regularly made things happen for Arsenal on the days when they have been average and have needed his help to help set the tempo in attack.
“There is no way you could say that Di Maria has done the same for United while they have been short of their best form.”
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the difference in performances by the South American superstars is huge as Sanchez comes out on top in every category.
The Chilean international has produced more goals, shots, key passes and even successful take-ons, an ability di Maria is renowned for worldwide.
|Goals per Game||Shots per Game||Key Passes per Game||Take-ons per Game||Touches per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Appearances|
|Ángel Di María||0.15||2.8||2.25||2||61.95||29.05||4.4||20|
Aside from his attacking contributions, the former Barcelona ace is simply more involved than the Argentine international – per touches and passes - though United’s tactics may be culpable for this.
However, the key area which may determine the attitude and willingness of the players is defending from the front and tracking back – Sanchez trumping Di Maria in ball recoveries on average per match.
Still, Monday’s encounter at Old Trafford could be make or break for one of these players in terms of winning silverware for this season and if both players turn up it could prove to be a fascinating battle.