By Andy Jones
- Mata joined United from Chelsea in January 2014 for a then club record £37.1million
- Struggled to get in the team at times but now an ever-present
- Spaniard has 3 goals and 5 assists in 11 games this season
Juan Mata has become an integral part of the current United team, from an uncertain future during last season, when he struggled to get in the team.
He now seems to have a found a role within Van Gaal’s philosophy. Cutting in from his position on the right side of a midfield three, he has now scored 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 7 games, more than Hazard and Yaya Toure.
People argue that he doesn’t have the raw pace for a role on the wing, and that he is pushed off the ball too easily. While this may be true, his touch, vision and creativity more than compensates for this. If the game was all about raw pace and strength, then we might as well sign Usain Bolt!
Its not only his ability that adhere Mata to the United fans, he seems a real “United” player. He seems to get the club, buys into the history, and seems genuinely happy to be here, even when he wasn’t getting as much game time as he’d like.
Whether he played a role in persuading De Gea to sign a new deal nobody knows, but the current group of players seem to be forming a real bond and a togetherness not seen at the club since Sir Alex Fergusons’ time in charge. This unity is vital if we are to genuinely challenge for honours this season, the likes of Schweinsteiger too, playing as if he has been at the club for years. According to the guys on Sunday Supplement, we now have the leagues best three “controlling” midfielders, adding a new dimension to the team, with teams no longer able to stroll through our soft centre.
Whether this squad has the depths to challenge for honours across three fronts remains to be seen, and the next month poses some real challenges, but if the likes of Mata can keep up the great form, both scoring and creating for the team, we’ll certainly be in contention.
The media are certainly having to re write their pre season predictions, and more recently when the Premier League title was handed to Manchester City at the end of September. There’s no such thing as a blue moon rising, but the last 24 hours has definitely seen the red moon looming large across the world.