Paul Scholes: Why Angel di Maria’s red card changed Man United’s season
Red Devils legend Paul Scholes names the turning point in Manchester United's season
Paul Scholes says Angel di Maria’s sending off against Arsenal has proved to be the turning point in Manchester United’s season.
The £59.7m signing was dismissed in the second half of their 2-1 defeat by the north London side in the FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford last month.
United have won four successive games since their cup exit, producing their best performances of the season in victories over Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
Former Red Devils Scholes, who won 11 Premier League titles during his career, believes Di Maria’s sending off allowed manager Louis van Gaal to stumble upon his best formation.
Scholes wrote in his Independent column: “I have been critical of my old club Manchester United under Louis van Gaal this season and I have to say that I did not see this change in fortune coming. To the extent that when they go to Chelsea this weekend, I think they have a good chance of winning the game.
“When I look back on the key changes, I still feel that Angel Di Maria’s red card against Arsenal was critical in allowing Van Gaal to build this new-look team. Looking at the side it seems to me to be a triumph of the underdog – Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young. All of whom looked like they could be out the picture at the start of the season and are now having a big impact.
“The formation is bold. It is much more attacking and more what I expected of Van Gaal when he arrived. There is a spine of four players – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Fellaini and Wayne Rooney – that runs through the middle. Then Young and Mata wide. I wonder whether Carrick will be fit to start against Chelsea, which might mean Daley Blind moving back into midfield.”
United were 4-2 winners against City in Sunday’s derby courtesy of goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.
The Red Devils face Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the top-flight on Saturday evening.