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Clockwatch: How did £59.7m Di Maria do on his Man Utd debut?


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Manchester United's £59.7 million signing Angel Di Maria was thrown straight into action on Saturday afternoon as he started the Premier League match against Burnley at Turf Moor.

We watched the midfielder closely as he went about the minor business of rescuing Manchester United from their malaise...

2’ – WHERE IS HE PLAYING? Di Maria is deployed on the left of a midfield two with Juan Mata, in front of Darren Fletcher and behind Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in a 3-1-4-2. Here comes his first touch comes as he tries to inject forward momentum by carrying the ball forward but Phil Jones has already been penalised for a foul.

5’ – IN THE THICK OF IT: Di Maria’s first real involvement comes as he charges upfield and collects a lay-off from Rooney. He bounds further up the pitch and tries to return the pass but puts too much on it and Rooney watches it roll of out play.

8’ – SHOWING OFF HIS SKILLS: Collects throw from the left from Ashley Young and sprays a nice ball out to Jonny Evans on the opposite flank with outside of his boot.

12’ – FIRST CONTACT: Robs possession from David Jones and shields the ball from the Burnley midfielder before winning a free-kick when being brought to ground. 14’ – AIMLESS CROSS: Di Maria drifts to the left wing to pick out a cross but can’t find a United shirt.

15’ – GREAT VISION: Sitting deep, Di Maria pings a lovely ball over the top for Van Persie to chest down. He pulls the trigger but Heaton comes out quickly to save. It’s United’s best chance of the game so far.

19’ – DELICIOUS TOUCH: Di Maria produces a neat flicked header in midfield to keep the ball moving and then combines on the left with a delicious ball round the corner to deliver a dangerous low cross for Mata, who slips as he tries to strike the ball in the box.

21’ – LOOSE TOUCH: The Argentina international tries to get the ball moving forward again with a pass to Rooney but gets his aim wrong this time and Burnley mop up..

25’ – LEFTY: Another neat pass with the outside of the boot pass goes rolling across the turf. Di Maria relies heavily on that genius left foot of his.

27' – THE WRONG KIND OF ASSIST: Tries to help out defensively but his touch only pokes the ball to Jones who sees a stinging volley turned over the bar by De Gea.

39’ – FAILED RUN: Tries a driving run through midfield but it doesn’t come off and United have still only had one shot on goal to Burnley’s four.

HT - Burnley 0-0 Man Utd: A good 45 minutes for the new signing as he gave United some energy and penetration in midfield, but his new side remain disjointed, particularly in defence, as they continue to adapt to a new system. 

48' - FOULED: Di Maria is felled by a tough challenge from Burnley striker Danny Ings. The kind of tackle that screams 'welcome to the Premier League' were you so inclined to rely on such cliches.

59' - CLOSE! Di Maria does superbly well to chase down Kieran Trippier in the left channel and wins the ball before being brought to ground as he tries to sneak into the box. But United retain possession and Van Persie's shot is cleared off the line.

65' - INJURY SCARE: "What a waste of money," sing the Burnley fans as Di Maria goes down with a spot of cramp. He comes to the touchline for a once over and a spot of refreshment, but trots back on.

70' - HOOKED OFF: Di Maria's decent debut comes to an end and he is replaced by Anderson, of all people.

CONCLUSION: A promising debut for Di Maria who always looked keen to get forward and get the ball moving. He adds an element of penetration that United have lacked for a long time, but bigger problems remain with this United side and they will not be solved by one signing alone.

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