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Juan "Slow and Lazy" Mata
It was an amazing tackle, shame about the injury as I was actually interested to see how he'd do over the coming weeks in his favoured position.
Hats off to him for that.
Great effort and very good defensive ability on show there
Love Juan, but feck me if I didn't yell at the television when we had an opportunity to counter and Rom was free on the left when he didn't release the ball, then turned around after getting hounded by Liverpool players. It represented everything that bugs me about him nowadays, where he's just simply not explosive enough to play the style that we are getting at with Ole (quick transitions, lots of running with the ball). It's unfortunate, because the Mata from his Chelsea days would have been electric in this system.
Has to be one of the nicest guys in football and in a slower league, you could build a team around him well into his mid 30s.
With his contract up, I think we would be daft to extend him. It's best for us, him and some of the younger players who could play in that attacking CM position
He's literally the opposite to the modern footballer I think a lot of people feels detached to. He takes time to connect with fans via his blog, he's done remarkably with the Common Goal-project getting members like Chiellini, Hummels, Gnabry, Kagawa and the whole club of FC Nordsjælland (though odd no United players is a member, but whatever) and he generally seems like a wholesome guy.
But I really hope we let him go come summer. He doesn't fit our style and his wages must be one of the higher ones. It's hard to compete on the right side, when Mata plays there, since he's got no steel and is as slow as Mertesacker was at the end.
Looks like this tackle seems to have aggravated his injury!
From his blog,
"In terms of my own injury problem, I could feel something for a few minutes and I hope that I didn’t make it worse when racing to stop Salah on the counter at attack (I had to do it!). I’m hoping it isn’t anything serious. I will do everything that I can to get back as soon as possible."
It is a shame that he got injured after he finally he gets to have a run of games in his preferred position. It would have given us a chance to actually see whether it is worth giving him a new contract.
Odd thing to accuse Mata of after Sundays game?
Even if we regularly play a diamond or a similar formation with a central attacking mid, I still question whether it is worth keeping him.
Lingard, Pogba and Sanchez can all play that role in different ways, while we have the very exciting Gomes coming through.
With Mata's contract expiring and given his relatively high wages, I think now is the opportune time to let Mata go. The squad is too big, even before factoring the new academy players like Gomes and Greenwood, so we need to be more ruthless with the fringe players
I think this summed up the complete commitment the team had this match.
He was clearly hurt but bust his gut to get back, when Salah squared him up in the box I feared the worst, but what a great little tackle couldn't believe it.
Ole's got the whole team fighting for eachother, which is something Jose just couldn't do.
People were saying this last season, even the season before which would have seen us sell genuine quality and endure a year of youngsters who aren't good enough yet in 2019 being exposed to PL action for two seasons now.
Why is this year any different? Half this forum didn't want Lindeloff because he'd be in the way of our can't miss, younger CBs.
I'll argue our squad isn't too big. City have a bigger squad and are rotating the death out of Liverpool. We will never compete if we sell players like Mata so youth can get on the bench.
The step up has to be bigger than that. If our youngsters are good enough to force Mata out then let them be good enough, we can't sell and then find that out.
A few factors why this summer is different:
- Mata is out of contract. It's not a decision to sell, but whether it is worth renewing
- Mata has been awful at RW when played there and 433 seems our favored formation
- He is far better as a AM, but when we use that position, OGS tactics appear to be based on fast breaks and Mata unfortunately lacks the legs
- The youth players are older and closer to a breakthrough
- Even if you don't believe in this current crop of youth (they have to be given squad rotation opps to develop and don't suddenly come of age at a magic number) Lingard and Sanchez are capable of playing the AM position
I disagree with you on squad depth. I work on the basis of 2 players for every position, with any injuries covered by the academy. To do so otherwise, ties up wages in average players who rarely play, while denying a pathway for youth that our club is built on
Excluding any 'new' youth prospect (Gomes, Chong) and any new signings, we are currently oversubscribed in the following areas:
- CB. 5 Players for 4 slots , 6 if you include Tunzebe returning next season
- FB. 5 for 4 slots
- CM. 6 Players for 6 spots, but it would be 7 with TFM (If not classed as a def mid, then he boosts the CB or FB numbers)
Regarding Mata, he is currently our 2nd choice right attacker , but that is our priority position for a new signing and he would become 3rd choice - that excludes the promotion of Chong or Greenwood. Meanwhile he's 2nd at best, arguably 3rd choice at AM, a position that is unlikely to be used in the default formation. If he is around, then that denies mins to Gomes
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If we persist with an imbalanced squad and players who can't perform to the required standard (which Mata can't on the right and would rarely get the chance centrally), then I'm not sure how we can constsistently challenge for major trophies. Pep had a fairly big clearout of what was a strong City squad, I believe we need to do similar
As I've said, with Mata's contract expiring, it's an ideal oppurtunity to move him on
If we give Mata a new contract then we are showing the wrong intent. We need to move the deadwood on, Jones was bad enough.
Mata is an excellent squad player. We saw that against Chelsea.
I am more than happy to see him sign a new long term deal. More so than Smalling, Jones and others.
I hope he retires with us.
@Bola is spot on, how are we going to improve the clear lack of depth in attack if we don't make some room? Mata, Sanchez and Lukaku all need replacing over the next 18 months, Mata is the easiest to move on in the short term as he's out of contract, give him a new one and we'll have the same top 4 limit attack as this season.
We have some important decisions to make. Assuming Rashford, Martial and Lingard are three attackers who genuinely fit in well with Ole's system as well as the sort of footballing United fans want to see (although we should upgrade on Lingard too), we definitely want to ensure that the three/four other options are players who are value to the team and fit well with their role in their squad.
For example, Mata is a consummate professional and he is exceptional at retaining possession, but his impact these days is minimal and I'm not sure be fits in well with Ole's system at all. Maybe we be better off with a younger talent like Brandt or somebody else not too expensive? You have to consider Mata's professionalism as well as his regression.
Lukaku is a complete mis-fit for me but he does give you end product. That's what he lives off. Now while he gives you that, he is also paid far too much for a squad option so it may make sense to replace him with a cheaper option, or use the budget on a right winger.
Sanchez is a total dud for me. Not many redeeming qualities thus far. Id get rid of him with little thought if possible.
Essentially I think we can keep one of the three but we should be looking to upgrade at least two of them for sure.
His squad place and playing time would be better given to Gomes and Chong next season.
It seems to me the board would rather go for the cheap option, extend deadwood FC instead of looking to improve the teams obvious weak links. We need a new RW, but the club would rather pay mata 170K per week then going out and spending on a top class attacking winger, we know the players who shouldn’t be here but all are getting contract extensions.
But imagine if the club moves on lukaku, Sanchez and mata, wages freed up we could add a top class winger to go in there with Rashford and martial, and we would have lingard has depth, and even add another forward if needs be. The club even extended rojo’s contract to three years, even though his injury record is awful. I doesn’t take much to see what’s going on, Woodward and the glazers will do all they can to avoid spending money to like their pockets, extend contracts and the summer will answer all our questions. Check the last three transfer windows, our spending has been well under 100 million. From a business point of view for them, it’s cheaper to fight for top 4, than winning trophy’s, has long as the gold keeps coming in they will think we can make has much money spend less finishing 4th, than spending.
Well no - if we keep Mata, move Sanchez on and sign someone then we won't have the same "limited" attack....
I'll never get this argument that is thrown on this forum. You just can't sell all 3 backup players and replace them with one player and hope that the youth players come good and have a debut season where they are playing better than seasoned professionals.
I get it why people want to sell Mata, but I'd much rather sell Sanchez if we want to buy another attacker- We're spending around 20m each season on his wages alone and his output is no way justifying it. Also, Rom might be looking for a move as well and hence it becomes all the more important to retain him.
I know Mata is a PL veteran at this stage but would Gomes be a downgrade? He can do every Mata can with more pace and energy.
I can't say I've seen Mata in recent years do something where I instantly said ''brilliant, great play through experience''. He's on the wing, can't create, close down or counter attack with pace. He has a mean FK but that's about it. If we're not gonna play a formation with a no.10 role then he shouldn't be near the XI.
I agree with all of this, we need to provide Ole with the type of players that can play in the style and system he is trying to install at United, and right now we only have 3 forwards that can do that, one of which needs an upgrade, it's whether this board has the interest in actually letting him shift players on and get in one's that fit his needs that I'm uncertain of.
I said "top 4 limit" not "limited" as in this current attack is capable of competing for top 4, not the PL itself. Also it's a lot easier to just not renew Mata's contract than it is to sell a player who is clearly past his best and on the highest wages in the league, but like amolbhatia said, we really need to be shifting two of them on if we are to get this attack up with City who have 2 players for each slot so they never have to alter their core system and are also able to rotate so they can keep the high energy style without the injury issues kicking in, in bulk like they have for us.
I actually agree with your point, that if we can play Mata we shouldn't be worried about playing Gomes.
That said, you are being harsh on Mata here. He's not just technically gifted, he's one of the most technically gifted players in the league. He has the league's best first touch, without question. And he's very clever, with great vision and understanding of the flow of the game. Without such exceptional assets he simply could never have been a top level footballer.
So as much as Gomes has brilliant technical potential too, it's wrong to say that he already 'can do everything Mata can do'.
I would really love to see him start, anyway.
Honestly makes no sense to give him a new deal, his form has been poor this season, his stats are actually pretty poor for someone playing in his position and I can only see that getting worse. His style doesn't really fit the style Ole plays or Poch if we go down that route.
I agree he's one of the best touches in football but if touch/technique was everything then aging stars would never retire. In the attacking positions you need athleticism whether that be strength, speed/acceleration or stamina (if not all 3). Mata has zero of those. He also can't control the tempo of a game with clever passing like Silva.
Sure he finds space and can control any pass that comes to him but too often he's caught with taking too much time on the ball and not given the right pass straight away. There is a reason Mata isn't producing for us and it's not just to do with his positioning in a formation.
He'd clearly produce a lot more for us if he was played in his natural position though - as in his last three games playing in a central role (before Liverpool), he has been directly involved in, I think, 3 goals.
He was also heavily involved in the lead up to both goals during our comeback against Burnley.
The big problem for him is that he doesn't really have a position in a 433. In a 4231 he's capable of playing either as the 10 or on the right, but in a 433 it doesn't really work.
It's not a coincidence that his form fell of a cliff at the start of 2018 around the same time that Mourinho changed to a 433 system. He actually did start to look a bit better right at the end of Mourinho's reign, but overall he's generally been poor again since Ole's taken over.
What is his injury?
Waited too long to bring him on, I'm not saying he would have done anything to change things for sure but he couldn't have offered less than Lingard.
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