Juan Mata; the nice guy of the Premier League, the player nobody dislikes, the player with a blog that even the Kardashians would be proud of. Still, the Spaniard has been criticised for lacking strength and pace, and going missing in games more than grandad after 5 ‘o’clock on Christmas Day.
Yet, in spite of all this, in spite of being previously on Jose Mourinho’s ‘bully list’, the Spaniard has become instrumental under the current Red Devils boss. The former Blue has stats like no other compared to his Premier League colleagues; so eat your heart out Eden Hazard, eat your heart out goggle-eyes, Mesut Ozil – nice guy, Juan Mata, is the man around town.
Juan Mata has scored 42 and assisted 41 since arriving in the Premier League in 2011. No player has been involved in more goals 👏 pic.twitter.com/XxobvB5XDJ
— BigSport (@BigSportGB) November 19, 2016
Seriously impressive figures for a bloke who appears to have been in the background for the last couple of years, rarely making the headlines, and only gets a bit of air time when he’s having a some banter with best mate, Ander Herrera.
Mata’s importance to United is evident through his impact when starting games, as the Spaniard is becoming more influential at United than Paul Pogba’s much anticipated arrival; which has been about as useful as a floppy disk in the 21st century.
Points won in the Premier League by Man Utd this season:
When Juan Mata starts = 13 out of 15
When Juan Mata doesn't start = 1 out of 12 pic.twitter.com/8B0jfS2jEu
— Kevin Blundell (@kevin_blundell) October 23, 2016
Since these figures were recorded, United have played three, and taken five points from nine with Mata starting in each game, the sort of form that Red Devils fans have come to expect these days.
Still, Mata should be getting as much game time as possible as United try and chase their much desired Europa League spot; and go as far as they can in the EFL cup… someone’s got to win that god awful trophy.
Question is, though, does G Nev deem Mata worthy of a starting spot in his current Red Devils XI?