Manchester United's record £59.7 million signing Angel Di Maria sat out yet another key game for the Red Devils and could only watch last weekend's 1-1 draw against Arsenal. Any hope of the Argentine getting some game time faded as an injury to David De Gea meant Van Gaal had to use his final substitute to bring on Victor Valdes in the 73rd minute.
Similarly last Sunday was not an enjoyable one for Eliaquim Mangala. His performance against Swansea proved to be a humbling for Manchester City's most expensive new defensive player as he too fails to live up to the rumoured price of £32 million City paid for the Frenchman.
This is a sharp contrast from the pair's first appearances with their clubs.
Di Maria began his United career in a drab 0-0 draw with now relegated Burnley but excelled against QPR and Leicester, scoring on both occasions. Fans began to believe they had found an heir to the famous number seven shirt held by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham before him.
Mangala began his City career with an impressive display against Chelsea as a 10-man City rescued a 1-1 draw against the now premier league champions. Partnering Vincent Kompany, the defensive pair ended Diego Costa's run of scoring in every Premier League game up to that point.
Soon after this however, the fortunes of both players began to change.
Since his dazzling performance against Leicester, where he scored a world class lob which was just pipped by Juan Mata's goal against Liverpool as goal of the season, Di Maria has only scored twice since and has become a bit-part player in Van Gaal's team, with his last goal coming against Yeovil Town in January. He has not started a match since early March and has seen Ashley young take his place as a regular starter on the left-side of midfield.
Mangala's performances and game time became diminished over the season. Last weekend it was Mangala who lost the flight of the ball for Bafetimbi Gomis' goal and he was twice dispossessed by Nathan Dyer during the game.It was up to City's goalkeeper Joe Hart to pull of some vital saves to preserve City's eventual 4-2 victory at the Liberty Stadium and save his team's blushes. It seems now the 24-year-old is a target during games for opposing managers to exploit.
It seems both players will, however, get a chance to redeem themselves next season.
While Di Maria is linked once more with PSG in what looks like a typically busy summer for his agent Jorge Mendes, it is likely United will give their star signing another season to adjust and try flourish under the Dutch manager:
"The players have had to adapt to the philosophy and Di Maria has to do that," said Van Gaal last week, his summation of the Argentine's slide from prominence. "It's not that Di Maria doesn't have the quality. He has to perform in a way that we want."
Mangala too seems likely to stay with his English club. Considering the large amount City spent on the defender last summer they must persevere in hope he recovers himself to the level the club saw on his debut.
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