Analysis: Di María joins Man United in robes of saviour

“The Dutchman has introduced an innovative 3-4-1-2 formation since taking up his role in July, but there is no obvious role for Di María in the system. His attacking instincts would have to be curbed at left wing-back and in any case, United did not lavish £29 million on Shaw in order to leave the England teenager on the bench. Di María can operate in the centre of the pitch, but if Van Gaal is determined to use Juan Mata as a number 10, it would leave him with only one berth in the team for an orthodox central midfielder. With Rooney and Robin van Persie also apparently guaranteed to start, Van Gaal may have to consider changing tack if he is to give all of his attacking stars the best conditions in which to work.”

I wrote a piece for AFP on where Manchester United’s record signing Ángel di María will fit into their starting XI, and you can read it here.

One Response to “Analysis: Di María joins Man United in robes of saviour”

  • GutterGoon:

    Savior he maybe, but van Gaal should not treat Di Maria as a king.

    The reason that some people are calling him the MVP of Madrid’s 13-14 campaign is his defensive input. There isn’t many attacker of his caliber that are also reliable defensively as him, and that’s where his value lies. Di Maria being able to cover vast space for others was the integral cog that allowed Ancelotti to play BBC (Bale, Benzema, CR7), as well as making Argentina to function coherently in the WC. United obviously needs defensive cover in their midfield, so it would be a mistake to treat Di Maria as a king, relieving defensive responsibility.

    Just forget about appeasing him, and use him at left wingback. Shaw is ill suited to play wing back anyway (he doesn’t know what to do after cutting in). Another option is reverting back to 4231/433 and using Di Maria as a winger, but I don’t know if United’s center halves are reliable enough to play 4 at the back.

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