Juan Mata arrived at United for £37.1million during the January transfer window. The former Chelsea man was hailed as the savior to Man United’s shocking season, but couldn’t do anything to prevent the failures of David Moyes.
Since Louis van Gaal took the reigns at United, Mata has seemed to disappear into the background of the team and many think it’s the correct decision.
In the past few months, the little Spaniard has been slated by the press and football fans alike for his supposed bad performances in recent matches.
With Wayne Rooney being suspended the media dubbed this as Mata’s chance to prove himself to van Gaal. However, as reported in The Telegraph, Juan Mata has failed in doing so.
The no10 role at United has been dominated by the now club captain Wayne Rooney, who also played frequently in that position for England. This infatuation with Rooney having to play behind the striker, has always really troubled me.
To begin with, he isn’t even that good at playing in that position. Rooney lacks the creativity, the vision, the dribbling and the technical ability that a no10 player requires. Mata has them all.
This season saw the departure of Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa, who returned to Borussia Dortmund. At the time of arrival to United, Kagawa was one of the best players in the German Bundesliga and arguably Dortmund’s best player.
However, with Rooney seemingly having to play in the no10 position, Kagawa was moved out to the wing (or more often to the bench) and couldn’t replicate his fantastic form seen in Germany. There’s no doubt that Shinji Kagawa is a better playmaker than Rooney, but since the England captain was occupying the role, Kagawa was slated by the press for poor performances (due to being played out of position) and was later sold back to Dortmund.
Juan Mata is suffering the same fate as Shinji Kagawa had to. Mata has a pass success rate of 91.8% compared to Rooney’s 83.8%. The United no10 has scored 3 and assisted 2 in 6 appearances for United (4 out of the 6 matches Rooney played as a striker) whereas Mata has scored 2 and assisted 1 in 7 appearances for United (however came on as a sub in one of those matches).
Rooney is superior by one more goal, but two of three he’s scored have been from when he played as a striker, therefore Mata has more goals than Rooney from the no10 position, along with a much higher passing accuracy. Thus, all this talk about how Rooney is a much better no10 than Wayne Rooney is absolute garbage!
Van Gaal has already confirmed that his club captain (Wayne Rooney) will be playing in every match that he’s available for this season, which is bad news for Juan Mata. With Rooney not being a better striker than Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao, and van Gaal not wanting to play Rooney in central midfield (which I think would be beneficial for everyone) Mata will have to put on a bib once more, while Rooney is occupying that no10 position behind the strikers.
If United aren’t careful they could find themselves wasting yet another potential world-class talent, in order to feed the ego of a not so world-class Wayne Rooney.