Angel Di Maria, who has made his best start to a season since his arrival in Ligue 1 Conforama, is shining brightly among Paris Saint-Germain's array of stars in the 2019-20 campaign.
Ligue 1 Conforama leaders since Week 4, Paris Saint-Germain have already been hit by many injuries in the first third of the 2019-20 season. Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, among others, have been out of action for long stretches as the club's attacking elements endured a stormy time.
However, the capital club has averaged more than two goals per match and currently boasts the league's best attack after 13 games - a performance that would not have been possible without Angel Di Maria. Now in his fifth season in Paris - having arrived at the club on 6 August 2015 - the Argentinian has made his best start to a season in France, with a significant contribution to his team's offensive performance.
Tuchel's most-used player
In the absence of the famous 'MCN' partnership - Kylian Mbappé, Edinson Cavani and Neymar - which has not been seen this season due to overlapping injuries, Angel Di Maria has taken over as Paris' main man in attack. He is the player most used by coach Thomas Tuchel this season (954 minutes, his record at this stage of a season since his arrival) and the only one to have participated in every one of PSG's first 13 Ligue 1 Conforama outings.
And he has made the most of that playing time, proving the club's most decisive player, with five goals and six assists in 13 appearances (ten starts). Involved in 39% of his team's goals, El Fideo has shown the best early-season form of his stint in France, providing an assist or scoring a goal every 87 playing minutes.
Di Maria's goal involvement after Week 13:
2019/20: 11/28 - 39% (every 87 min)
2018/19: 9/45 - 20% (every 103 min)
2017/18: 4/43 - 10% (every 160 min)
2016/17: 6/26 - 23% (every 149 min)
2015/16: 7/31 - 22.5% (every 155 min)
The South American, who Paris Saint-Germain's top assist provider and joint top scorer along with Kylian Mbappé and Mauro Icardi, has seen his influence grow in the injury absence of his attacking colleagues. While he alone has more minutes than the Neymar-Mbappé duo (954 against 894), he is the player who has shot the most in Ligue 1 Conforama this season (42 attempts) and second in the ranking of shots on target (16). As proof of his importance, he has played the last four matches in their entirety (eight matches in total, twice as many as last year at this time).
Compared to last season, Angel Di Maria is twice as decisive for a comparable playing time (954 minutes versus 923 a year ago) because PSG scores less (2.15 goals per game this season versus 3.46 last year). Within his club, however, regarding the decisive move/playing time ratio, he might not be on top - he is currently being outdone by Kylian Mbappé and Mauro Icardi - but he is nonetheless in third position.
The players most involved this season at PSG (goals/game time):
Kylian Mbappé: Eight goals (five goals and three assists), one decisive move/56 min
Mauro Icardi: Six goals (five goals and one assist), one decisive move/64 min
Angel Di Maria: Eleven goals (five goals and six assists), one decisive move/87 min
Neymar: Four goals (four goals), one decisive move/112 min
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting: Four goals (three goals and one assist), one decisive move/112 min
The second-most decisive player in the league
In Ligue 1 Conforama, only one player has been more decisive than Angel Di Maria in the early stages of the championship: Islam Slimani. With five goals and eight assists in 780 minutes, the Algeria striker is even better than the Argentine, making a decisive move every 60 minutes. The AS Monaco striker has been involved in 65% of the Principality's club's goals this season.
Also very influential in the attacking game at Stade Brestois 29, Yoann Court is involved in 64% of his team's goals (two goals and seven assists). Denis Bouanga at AS Saint-Etienne and Memphis Depay at Olympique Lyonnais are just ahead of Di Maria's 39%. Bouanga (five goals and two assists) has been involved in 47% of Les Verts' goals, while Depay has been directly involved in 40% of OL's goals this season (seven goals and one assist).