Angel Di Maria’s first half-hour of Premier League play was among the only exciting things to happen in Manchester United’s scoreless draw with Burnley on Saturday morning at Turf Moor.
The Argentine international thrilled but his teammates were sloppy and referee Chris Foy turned down multiple appeals for a penalty, as karma may’ve bitten Ashley Young.
Burnley has its first point in this Premier League stint, while United improves to just two points on the season through three games.
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Questions will certainly arrive regarding Louis van Gaal’s 3-5-2 for United, but it should be noted that only Di Maria featured of the club’s 4-5 summer transfers (depending if you count the reported impending move for Daley Blind).
The Premier League world got its first taste of what Angel Di Maria can do when he served an absolutely gorgeous 50-yard ball on a rope to a streaking Robin van Persie, only for the Dutchman to be stifled by Tom Heaton.
ADM then worked a combination down the left side that began with him head-flicking a ball backwards, then using the outside of his right boot for a flick that set up his own brilliant run down the wing. He was excellent.
It wasn’t all wine and roses for Di Maria, whose wayward touch outside his own 18 allowed David Jones to trouble David De Gea with a first touch rip.
One player who didn’t look world class was van Persie, who really struggled to turn the service he was receiving into danger for Burnley.
Which isn’t to say the Clarets didn’t attack, as Burnley had several good chances over the course of the first half. Scottish attacker Scott Arfield nutmegged Tyler Blackett before moving around Darren Fletcher and having a shot deflected out for a corner. An earlier free kick from Jones off the bar certainly gave United fans pause.
The second half was slow and plodding, especially as Di Maria’s legs got the best of him.
The danger returned for Manchester United in the final 15 minutes, and Rooney headed an Anderson corner wide in the 78th minute.
Antonio Valencia provided a good deal of danger to win corners for the visitors late, but his crosses were downright miserable.
Ashley Young should’ve won a PK for United in the 87th minute after his shot was handled in the 18, but referee Foy apparently wasn’t paying attention.
It’s probably fair to note that Di Maria is the only one of United’s four summer window signings to play against Burnley, as Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw weren’t selected or available, and Daley Blind has yet to formalize his transfer from Ajax.
Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell (c), Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Taylor (Reid, 88′); Ings (Barnes, 79′), Jutkiewicz
Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Evans, Blackett, Valencia (Januzaj, 87′), Young, Fletcher, Di Maria (Anderson, 70′), Mata, Rooney, van Persie (Welbeck, 73′)