Angel Di Maria - Struggling to replicate his last season's form

The former Benfica winger has been in torrid form this season and looks as to what has gone wrong in his performance...
It could have been worse for 10 men Real Madrid as their side settled for a goalless draw against Osasuna at El Sadar last weekend. It was another one in the line of several listless performances dished out by this Los Blancos side who have failed to reach the heights of last season.

With Cristiano Ronaldo suspended, the home side struggled throughout to break an Osasuna side who are nowhere close to the financial strength of the Madrid. The likes of Luka Modric, Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria could only manage a single shot on goal in the entire duration of the game. looks at one of the worse performers of this star-studded Real Madrid lineup and as to what led to his downfall.

Struggling to find his feet this season

Judgment, maturity, hard work and an ability to rise to difficult circumstances, these were the traits Di Maria showed last season playing some of his best football and guiding Real Madrid to the Spanish League title. The Argentine suffered a thigh injury in February last year and since then it has been a completely different story for him as he has struggled to showcase his talent this term. Di Maria's form has taken a huge blow as the player on many occassions has been termed as their biggest dissapointment this season.

Signed for a massive €25 million from Benfica in 2010, Di Maria seems like suffering from what many call the "3rd season syndrome". Although a term famously used for managers, Di Maria's form this season gives justice to this tag.

Real Madrid find themselves third in the La Liga with all hopes gone of retaining the Spanish League title given that their arch rivals Barcelona being in tremendous form this season. The key difference between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been the former's over reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo whereas for Tito Vilanova's side has seen several players chip in with valuable performances.

Mourinho not trusting his Angel

It has been a tough season for Jose Mourinho who has struggled to bind his Real Madrid side together. The form of his players has been disappointing but his alleged criticism of El Pibito was very appropriate.
"When you earned little money, you played a lot. Since you renewed, do not play much or play too little"
The Argentine winger has completed only 5 games this season and has come off from the bench on 11 occasions. These stats clearly show how much faith Mourinho has lost in Di Maria, a player who played 35 league games and never stayed on the bench last season. Di Maria is no longer among the indispensable members of this Real Madrid side. Off the pitch as well, Di Maria has had it hard after being fined 1500 after he claimed the refereeing errors in the league were intentional.

And to make matters worse, he hasn't made much of the opportunities provided to him by affording him a place in the starting eleven. His performance against Sevilla was arguably his worst display of the season which Madrid ended up losing 1-0. Di Maria, when on the ball seemed rather timid and unsure of what to do with it. He failed to utilize the width and thus Madrid's play was one-dimensional and very narrow.

Season 2011/2012 Appearances - 32 Goals - 7 Assists - 16 Avg.Pass accuracy - 73%
Season 2012/2013 Appearances - 18 Goals - 2 Assists - 1 Avg.Pass accuracy - 62%

Although the winger is not the most prolific goalscorer in this Madrid side, 2 goals and 1 assist in 18 appearances hardly comes close to 7 goals and 16 assists that he achieved last season. Known for his ability to cut in and take shots, Di Maria's decision making hasn't helped his cause either. The winger has taken a total of 33 shots this season managing just 5 on target which only highlights his poor state.

Defensively Di Maria is not the strongest. His lack of presence while retreating has been another cause of concern for Mourinho. Unlike many wingers, Di Maria does not track back once he loses possession. It was his error against Real Betis that ultimately led to the goal, a game that Madrid ended up losing 1-0. 

The winger has been unproductive in big games this season putting in some unimpressive displays against the likes of Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

His best performance came against Real Zaragoza in the league where the winger caused countless problems for Abraham Miniero and also found the back of the net. Apart from that, Di Maria has been a very mediocre player this season although the winger chipped in with a valuable goal at Camp Nou in the first leg of the Super Cup.

Di Maria's form has been a huge blow to Real Madrid's title defence this season and with two cups still to play for, they need their "Angel" back in form.

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