Angel di Maria made his comeback from injury for Manchester United in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday.
That was about the only positive for the Red Devils whose six-game winning run came to an end at Villa Park - a result which prompted boss Louis van Gaal to declare his side out of the title race.
The Argentinian had been out of action for around three weeks with a slight hamstring tear, but came on as a substitute for Robin van Persie for the final 30 minutes over the weekend.
Despite the fact that Villa were down to ten men for more than 25 minutes, Manchester United couldn't make the extra man count and were forced to settle for just a point. Christian Benteke had opened the scoring after just 18 minutes for the home side, however Radamale Falcao bagged his second Premier League goal before the hour mark to level things up.
Van Gaal would have expected his side to push on from their and grab the win, but they couldn't find the extra goal that they required when Di Maria came onto the pitch. Although the Red Devils remain in third they have been dragged back into the battle for a top four finish when they could have kicked on and put space between them and the likes of West Ham and Arsenal.
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However at least with the Argentinian back up and running, Manchester United can be confident of getting back to winning ways sooner rather than later. The 26-year-old has taken to life in England like a duck to water, and already has three goals and six assists to his name in the Premier League.
Next up for Manchester United is a difficult showdown against Newcastle on Boxing Day before they travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham two days later in what can prove to be a key game in the battle for Champions League qualification.
With Di Maria back and working his way towards full fitness, and with Manchester United's injury list getting shorter and shorter with the likes of Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw on the mend, things are starting to look up at Old Trafford.
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