It’s no secret. Angel Di Maria is Thomas Tuchel’s favorite player. The 32-and-a-half-year-old Argentinian played his 88th game against Metz this Wednesday evening under the orders of the German coach, a statistic which places him well ahead of any other Parisian (Marquinhos follows him 7 games behind). Despite a lackluster performance from PSG, still physically handicapped by absences and the lack of collective experience in this 2020-2021 season, Di Maria and his left paw illuminated the Parc des Princes. He believed in it to the end and the victory is to his credit, as understood by his teammates, who came to congratulate him after the only Parisian goal.
Already Sunday, during the clasico against OM, the former player of Real Madrid and Benfica was part, with Neymar, of the two players to have impressed Tuchel and even André Villas-Boas. The Marseille coach was stunned by the physical and technical performance of the Parisian winger, returning from ten days of vacation, a week of isolation and with only two collective sessions in the legs. “We thought he would be dead at half-time,” Villas-Boas whispered after the match.
This Wednesday evening against Metz, a logically much more affordable opponent, Di Maria has again proved that his body had digested the Covid-19 and the quarantine that accompanies it as if nothing had happened. Deprived of his attacking friends (Neymar, suspended, and Mbappé still in isolation), the third fantastic took on the role of first offensive option. Loving many balls, on the side as in the axis, Di Maria had plenty of time to center, to break lines to find Mauro Icardi (12th, 28th, 33rd), Pablo Sarabia (14th), Julian Draxler (39th ) or Colin Dagba (70th).
Summoned for his spit on Alvaro
The precision of his left foot is no longer to be demonstrated. His desire either, like his many gestures against his teammates, sometimes too still for his taste. A really successful match for Di Maria should have resulted in a goal. But on a personal occasion, we can only retain a deflected strike (4th), passed close to the left post of Oukidja, and a second (79th), well pushed back. PSG put an end to more than 400 scoreless minutes and this is largely thanks to the selflessness of his Argentine winger. He threw his last strength into a decisive center for Icardi, pushed back then taken over by Draxler (90th + 2). Emptied, he collapsed to the ground, his arms crossed.
The rest of the season darkens for the German coach, who will have a hard time composing his teams during the next days of Ligue 1. For Di Maria, Nice, this Sunday, and Reims, Sunday September 27, could be the last league appearances before a long time. The Argentine is summoned next Wednesday before the disciplinary committee of the League for “spitting” towards a player of the opposing team (Alvaro Gonzalez). A gesture that the images filmed during the clasico have captured. The LFP must determine the seriousness of the facts. Di Maria faces up to five game suspension.