Pitchside

Facts: 7 truths – Overpriced Di Maria not worth £64m, but he is to United

Pitchside

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United need more than Angel Di Maria

United are apparently going to pay £64 million (around 80m Euros) to sign the Argentina winger from Real Madrid. A fool and his money soon parted? Perhaps, but United have no options. They appear to be technically bankrupt going on the 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Sunday. Madrid know United are in desperate need of Di Maria, and they know they are good for the money - even if he is overpriced. They are holding. If Louis Van Gaal asks his board to sign this one off, a British transfer record fee, he need only show them replays of United's first two Premier League matches of the season to justify it.

[WILL DI MARIA DO A QUICK U-TURN?]

One point from six is not good enough for Manchester United. Di Maria won't provide instant answers, but, while it is a start, United have so many problems that need addressing. There must be more signings. The only thing missing from United at Sunderland this season from United at the Stadium of Light last season is David Moyes. The cries of 'Are you Moyes in disguise?' will soon greet Van Gaal if the obvious lack of creativity and pace are not addressed soon.

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Ashley Young likes a dive but his reputation goes before him

Fair enough, Young likes to dive. But it wasn't overly obvious that he was trying to cheat on this occasion. He was perhaps unfortunate to be booked for hurdling Wes Brown, but referees are aware that he has a penchant for a touch of the theatrics down through the years. Van Gaal didn't think he dived.

[ASHLEY YOUNG BOOKED FOR DIVING]

It could be argued either way, but why the Sunderland substitute Jordi Gomez was awarded a free-kick rather than joining Young in the book for a similar dive under little pressure from United substitute Michael Keane moments later was astonishing. Inconsistency of officiating remains a problem. If you book Young, you have to book Gomez. Young's reputation goes before him.

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Erik Lamela may finally flourish under Pochettino

Lamela endured a nightmare debut season at Spurs, but is starting to look like the player signed from Roma for £30m. An excellent pre-season, a game-changing substitute appearance in midweek against Limassol and now his best performance yet in a Spurs shirt. Pochettino seems to be taking Lamela under his wing, and so far the signs are positive. Two assists, the best of which was his run and cross for Nacer Chadli's second goal, was the least Lamela deserved. His year-long struggle with fitness and form seems to be over.

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Harry Redkapp's QPR side sounds better than it plays

QPR are packed with experience, but they don't look like they are going to do much better than they did when they were relegated two years ago. Harry knows how to spend, and has apparently forked around £24.5m to land Steven Caulker, Jordon Mutch and Leroy Fer during the close season. Rio Ferdinand also touched down on a free from Manchester United, but a 1-0 loss to Hull City followed by a 4-0 drubbing at Spurs does not fill the onlooker with too much optimism.

Rangers sound like a side you would build on Football Manager, but are they a team or a collection of individuals? At the moment, avoiding relegation has to be the prime aim for Harry. You imagine he'll back doing some transfer business before the week is out to make such a scenario possible. Where he likes to be.

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Bojan wearing a Stoke tracksuit looks wrong

It is difficult to think that Bojan Krkic remains only 23. Seeing the forward sport a Stoke tracksuit is slightly weird. It will be interesting to see how it goes at Stoke because his career already seems to be on a downward spiral. Barcelona, Roma, Milan, Ajax and now Stoke City. Where next? QPR, Notts County and St Mirren? Bojan was introduced for Glenn Whelan to try to cut open Hull as they dropped deeper and deeper.

To be fair, he provided the cross ball that led to his side's equaliser in the 1-1 draw against 10 men, but he was also booked and the jury is still out on whether or not he can fit in at a club like Stoke. He is very much a luxury signing by Stoke manager Mark Hughes, but much of his threat will depend upon Stoke improving from the levels they are performing at. In saying that, we could be completely wrong, and Manchester United may look to pair him alongside Di Maria. Unlikely, but you never know.

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Referees need more help than just goalline technology

Hull's 10 men had done the hard part by reaching the 83rd minute leading Stoke City 1-0. But you can't legislate for silly decisions. Fair enough, goalline technology correctly called Ryan Shawcross's goal to be in the net, but it should never have reached that point with Steve Bruce's side denied a clear throw-in when the ball clearly came back off Erik Pieters. It was right in front of the linesman.

Goodness only knows why Stoke were awarded the throw-in. But they were, and it led to the Stoke equaliser. A costly decision, but who knows just know costly it may prove to be when the final points total are totted up. "When you see how blatant [the throw-in] is I just can’t understand how the officials can’t get it right,” said Bruce. “The whole of the crowd knew it was our throw-in, their player even ran away. And the consequence was we weren’t set up the way we would have been, because we all thought it was our throw.”

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Rodwell will be a bonus for England, but so is Will Buckley

It is heartening to see Jack Rodwell back in the heart of Premier League action after his career was put on pause by joining Manchester City. Regular action should see him return to the England squad for their impending Euro 2016 qualifiers. He scored a fine headed equaliser as Sunderland earned a merited draw with Manchester United. But he wasn't the only Englishman to show his class. The industrious Will Buckley - who Gus Poyet landed from Brighton - produced a performance full of industry in a 1-1 draw. Perhaps Roy Hodgson will familiarise himself with Buckley.

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