Is Di Maria restricted by van Gaal's 3-5-2? This stat says yes

Angel Di Maria Argentina

Manchester United star Angel Di Maria is better than Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard in one key area throughout 2014.

Angel Di Maria will be looking to build on an impressive performance during the international break with Argentina.

The Manchester United midfielder has momentum and is likely to be a key figure this weekend against QPR, after making his debut before the international break against Burnley.

Di Maria tops the stats, according to WhoScored, in terms of the most key passes in Europe’s top five leagues this year and backed that up in the 4-2 win against Germany with three assists as well as a goal.

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is favouring a 3-5-2 formation so far this season and there have been suggestions that the Dutchman could opt for a four man midfield this weekend, which would allow Di Maria to move into a wider position.

Wide left is where the Argentine made the majority of his appearances for Real Madrid and it’s where he managed to accumulate his impressive number of key passes in important games for one of the biggest sides in the world.

The danger with having Di Maria in the middle of a 3-5-2 system is that it restricts his freedom in terms of occupying positions where he’s proven to be effective throughout 2014.

Di Maria is under more pressure to stay in and around central midfield in a 3-5-2 system, which prevents him from drifting onto weak full-backs and exploiting space within the opposition.

United have the central midfield cover to be able to allow Di Maria the luxury of controlling the left-hand side but it’s simply not possible in the current formation LvG uses.

Di Maria is not the sort of player who can play a wide left wing-back role because he doesn’t have that defensive quality.

There’s no point playing him on the left hand side of a 3-5-2 because the pressure which would then be placed on the left sided centre-back to continuously cover would be huge.

Fortunately for United fans, Di Maria is good enough to be influential in any possession if the club can get him on the ball but he’s been more effective than Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi in a certain position so why move him?

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