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Angel di Maria’s football career in just the last three years has seen him be a part of the biggest teams in Spain, England and now France. The hope for the player is that he stays with the Parisian club for a long while and helps it assert world dominance.
When di Maria arrived in Paris, excitement was very high. The side had bought a star. The 27-year-old’s debut had to wait because he arrived at PSG with a bit of a hamstring issue.
It was against Monaco in the fourth game week that he could make his first appearance for the club and sure enough, it was obvious just why PSG spent such a massive amount for him.
Indeed, if we just look at stats, the Argentinean has done well with seven goals and six assists so far. He averages an impressive 3.9 key passes every 90 minutes in the league. Not a bad output for the opening part of a new season at a new club and country. Not to mention, he comes to Paris at the back of which would make you question all the people calling him a flop.
The knee-jerk reaction has been uncalled for, but it is undoubted that he is still trying to find his feet in the team and it will take some more time for the fans to see the player integrated in PSG’s style of play.
The former Benfica star has been the first one to admit that he needs to adapt to the club’s way as there is more patience and build-up required as opposed to Real Madrid, where counterattacking was of utmost importance.
Back to his favorite position
Di Maria has been operating on the right side of Blanc’s 4-3-3 system, as he did in his early days at both Benfica and Real Madrid. As a winger, his main task was the stretch opposing defences and increase the width in PSG’s attack. Recently, Blanc has asked the player to cut inwards to ensure his technical abilities can be exploited.
Given Blanc has a bit of a selection conundrum up-front, perhaps it wouldn’t be the worst idea to use di Maria on the left flank and start Lucas Moura on his preferred right side. Ibrahimovic, once fit, will lead the line which means Edinson Cavani would be the benched player. El Matador has been disappointing in on many occasions this season and Blanc, who would most certainly be concerned, must also consider benching the Uruguayan.
PSG are not relying on the player for goals and he is not someone who has especially prolific seasons. But Blanc using Di María in that advanced role is providing him with the opportunity to get more shots away and he averages 3.9 shots 90 minutes too.
Can prove pivotal and decisive for the Parisians
He can certainly play an even more decisive role at the club as the player has gone missing in a few games, notably the 0-0 draw against former team Real Madrid. But by and large, his form has been good since he started at his new club and it also makes you question if Manchester United should have tried to hold on to him a little harder.
Then again, it certainly seems as though the player never wanted Manchester United and it was just a stopgap before the eventual PSG dream could be realised.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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