Juan Mata has been at Manchester United since 2014 when he arrived from Chelsea and at certain stages of his time at Old Trafford, it did not look as if he was to stay this long at the club. However, here he still is and this might have even been his last campaign at Man United. The Spaniard has been one of those useful smaller role players for a while now, unable to truly become a starter in a number 10 position which is in modern football becoming more and more endangered, due to the game becoming more and more physical and fast paced. Here is how he fared this year.
Overall Story Of His Season
There will not be all that much to analyse with the way this season went for former Valencia and Chelsea player. Juan Mata made just 18 appearances across five different competitions, scoring three goals and assisting another three. But what is probably the best way to show how little he played is the fact in total he spent just 861 minutes on the pitch. That is less than 10 full games, proving that Mata was sometimes a solution coming off the bench and seldom starting. That part was mostly reserved for cup competitions. Mata played just an hour of football in Champions League, in that terrible 2-1 loss to Basaksehir in Istanbul. In the Europa League he made five appearances, but the most minutes he got in those matches was 17 against Granada.
Mata did have a muscle injury this spring which made the matters worse for him, as he was possibly approaching some of the matches where there would have been more playing time available to him. His last match at Old Trafford this season was the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 loss to Leicester City, while his last match for Man United was the one minute he played in Europa League final, when he was subbed on in order to take the penalty. He did what was expected of him, but ultimately he did not get to lift another Europa League trophy.
A Look At The Numbers
It is not easy looking at Mata’s numbers in this past season, considering just how little he played. In the Premier League, he got just 511 minutes on the pitch. In such circumstances, everything we would say would be skewed by such a small sample to look from. What we can say is that the volume of his passes was at a very high level, his progressive passing was also useful and he was also good in shot-creating chances.
Juan Mata has been a very good servant for Manchester United in the past seven years. It has not been easy for him with all the managerial changes and the lack of clear style play that would have or would not have been complementary to the way he plays. Mata’s way of performing is probably not easy to implement into a modern team chasing trophies, with the game becoming more and more physical, but the Spaniard was also a complete professional which never complained and always fulfilled his role and did what was asked of him.