Friday 30 September 2016

Darmian's days look numbered after rapid decline

Matteo Damian enjoyed a superb start to his Old Trafford career but has suffered a spectacular slump over the past year.

Damian, sandwiched between the rested David de Gea and injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the directors box last night, now cannot even make the squad when United's first-choice right-back is rested for a Europa League tie.

Tim Fosu-Mensah, a teenage central midfielder who has prospered at right-back has muscled in ahead of an Italian catenaccio schooled by AC Milan and who possesses World Cup and European Championship experience.

Several of Louis van Gaal's signings have either fallen out of favour or lost all semblance of form.
Memphis can't get even get minutes in a home European tie against minnows and Morgan Schneiderlin has played five minutes of league football this term- although that's five more than some.

Jose Mourinho might say he is still getting to know his squad and their qualities, but Darmian cannot even get in the team ahead of the underwhelming and much-maligned Marcos Rojo. 
Damian might tough it out, since Fosu-Mensah could eventually revert back to midfield while Antonio Valencia has entered the last year of his contract. 

It doesn't seem likely though. 

What did for Darmian was the day in Gothenburg that Valencia suddenly discovered how to cross a ball: he claimed three assists in the pre-season win over Galatasaray and another for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Community Shield the following week.

The Ecuadorian quickly became a Mourinho man and his deputy, Fosu-Mensah, is the classic Jose prototype who has the three 'P's: presence, pace and power.

Like Memphis, Luke Shaw's broken leg as PSV last season had a detrimental impact on Darmian's form, even though Saw was marauding up and down the opposite flank.

Damian was culpable for both of the Dutch side's goals in our 2-1 defeat.

United had a settled back four in Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Shaw but, despite a commendable defensive record last term, the full-backs rarely matched the consistency of the centre-backs and the nadir for Darmian was at Arsenal in early October.

We were blitzed in 20 minutes and Darmian was hooked at half-time: later that month he was hauled off at Selhurst Park midway through the second half having been in danger of getting sent off after getting twisted inside out by Wilfried Zaha. 

Provided owner Roman Abramovich stays patient, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is a known admirer of his compatriot with the Italian in need of rebuilding his defence
Branislav Ivanovic no longer looks the part at right-back and Darmian might struggle to start again for United so London could be calling for the Italian. 

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