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2020-21 Performances


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6.2 Season Average Rating
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2
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anant

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Mata hasn’t been good enough in the last 3 to 4 years to be fair, the judgement was fair. I think not overplaying Mata last season really benefit Mata this season. He doesn’t look exhausted playing like old man, but instead he looks like a brand new player with fresh leg. Having Bruno or Donny next to him also giving a massive benefit.
I'd sort of disagree there but I can see where you're coming from.

I believe if you want to judge how good your team is technically, the quality of your side and the tactics - play Mata. If he plays well, the side has enough technical players, if he doesn't you know where the issue is (Not saying Mata would always have a good game personally, but 8 times out of 10, this would be a good way to judge the quality of the side).

Look at Mata's best performances, it was when he was playing with Kagawa, there was a phase where AdM was playing well with him (although I felt the tactics stifled the combination that season except for during that run that had Juanfield and the 4-2 vs City), he linked up well when Herrera was asked to play a slightly more advanced role, and from late last season, when we had a few games when Bruno and Mata both played.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I'd sort of disagree there but I can see where you're coming from.

I believe if you want to judge how good your team is technically, the quality of your side and the tactics - play Mata. If he plays well, the side has enough technical players, if he doesn't you know where the issue is (Not saying Mata would always have a good game personally, but 8 times out of 10, this would be a good way to judge the quality of the side).

Look at Mata's best performances, it was when he was playing with Kagawa, there was a phase where AdM was playing well with him (although I felt the tactics stifled the combination that season except for during that run that had Juanfield and the 4-2 vs City), he linked up well when Herrera was asked to play a slightly more advanced role, and from late last season, when we had a few games when Bruno and Mata both played.
This debate can be like Pogba all over again that you need specific players & system to get the best out of the player especially midfielder & attackers. Top players can even make average player or the players around you better. Bruno is a good recent example.

To be fair I thought 14/15 season was Mata’s best season and he played with Fellaini.
 

anant

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This debate can be like Pogba all over again that you need specific players & system to get the best out of the player especially midfielder & attackers. Top players can even make average player or the players around you better. Bruno is a good recent example.

To be fair I thought 14/15 season was Mata’s best season and he played with Fellaini.
Pog is inconsistent/ fails to shine even when you have everything set out for him. As in he is capable of giving a 10/10, but more often than not, it'd be a 7/10 if everything is set up for him.

Bruno example is a tad unfair. Bruno, like Rooney, has a street-ish feel to his play in the sense that they are ready to lead and take the game by the scruff of the neck - which is a great thing mind you, but not everyone can do that, and it's ok if someone can't.

And as far as his best season is concerned, 14/15 was statistically his best season obviously, but his best games that season came when the team decided to actually play decent slick football - which came when Herrera, AdM, etc. were there. I also thought he was quite good in 16/17 but because we werent so clinical in front of goal, that led to people believing that his assist numbers are bad, ergo he is past it
 
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UNITED ACADEMY

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Pog is inconsistent/ fails to shine even when you have everything set out for him. As in he is capable of giving a 10/10, but more often than not, it'd be a 7/10 if everything is set up for him.

Bruno example is a tad unfair. Bruno, like Rooney, has a street-ish feel to his play in the sense that they are ready to lead and take the game by the scruff of the neck - which is a great thing mind you, but not everyone can do that, and it's ok if someone can't.

And as far as his best season is concerned, 14/15 was statistically his best season obviously, but his best games that season came when the team decided to actually play decent slick football - which came when Herrera, AdM, etc. were there. I also thought he was quite good in 16/17 but because we werent so clinical in front of goal, that led to people believing that his assist numbers are bad, ergo he is past it
Bruno example is one of many. Carrick played next to Jones & Cleverley is another example, RVP or Rooney played next to Welbeck is another one. There are more from Scholes, Keane and etc. Top player will make players including average players around you better rather than making things so complex by requiring specific set up & players.

I picked 14/15 as his best season not because based on stats but because he played in that season as our most regular player and played well on consistent basis. The excuse calling it because we had ADM is silly because when ADM was dropped in 14/15 2nd half season he was still performing with the likes of Young & Fellaini. And those two are different type of player with Di Maria, different to Kagawa, different to Hazard and also different to Bruno. In other word it wasn’t about the set up & the player, it was because Mata’s own problem.

Mata hasn’t been performing for years for the required standard to be United player, his peak with us was in 14/15 since then he was not getting better but getting worse. This season (so far) is the only time he actually got much better than what he did previous season.
 

Raven

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Bruno example is one of many. Carrick played next to Jones & Cleverley is another example, RVP or Rooney played next to Welbeck is another one. There are more from Scholes, Keane and etc. Top player will make players including average players around you better rather than making things so complex by requiring specific set up & players.

I picked 14/15 as his best season not because based on stats but because he played in that season as our most regular player and played well on consistent basis. The excuse calling it because we had ADM is silly because when ADM was dropped in 14/15 2nd half season he was still performing with the likes of Young & Fellaini. And those two are different type of player with Di Maria, different to Kagawa, different to Hazard and also different to Bruno. In other word it wasn’t about the set up & the player, it was because Mata’s own problem.

Mata hasn’t been performing for years for the required standard to be United player, his peak with us was in 14/15 since then he was not getting better but getting worse. This season (so far) is the only time he actually got much better than what he did previous season.
Jones, Welbeck and Cleverley were all good players at United. We also had a league winning team, it wasn't just RVP or Carrick who raised their level, it was the team and of course the legendary manager. I think people like romanticising players too much, the type of player you're describing does not exist. Why do you think top players go to top clubs before winning anything? Is it because they raise the level of everyone at that top club or do you think maybe it's because they're now playing with other top players?
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Jones, Welbeck and Cleverley were all good players at United. We also had a league winning team, it wasn't just RVP or Carrick who raised their level, it was the team and of course the legendary manager. I think people like romanticising players too much, the type of player you're describing does not exist. Why do you think top players go to top clubs before winning anything? Is it because they raise the level of everyone at that top club or do you think maybe it's because they're now playing with other top players?
I don’t get your point here. And I don’t think you understand my point either.

The reason I gave Jones, Welbeck & Cleverley as example is to show people what top players can do in the team. They can make any players better around you which what Carrick & RVP did to those three. And Bruno in the same category. You won’t see the same result with someone like Matic playing next to Jones or Cleverley. There is no excuse for Mata to underperforming in those 3 to 4 years, when clearly the players he played with actually not worse than Jones, Welbeck & Cleverley. The problem was always been the player himself.
 

Livvie

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Bruno example is one of many. Carrick played next to Jones & Cleverley is another example, RVP or Rooney played next to Welbeck is another one. There are more from Scholes, Keane and etc. Top player will make players including average players around you better rather than making things so complex by requiring specific set up & players.

I picked 14/15 as his best season not because based on stats but because he played in that season as our most regular player and played well on consistent basis. The excuse calling it because we had ADM is silly because when ADM was dropped in 14/15 2nd half season he was still performing with the likes of Young & Fellaini. And those two are different type of player with Di Maria, different to Kagawa, different to Hazard and also different to Bruno. In other word it wasn’t about the set up & the player, it was because Mata’s own problem.

Mata hasn’t been performing for years for the required standard to be United player, his peak with us was in 14/15 since then he was not getting better but getting worse. This season (so far) is the only time he actually got much better than what he did previous season.
Untrue. Mata has been underused, but when coming on as a sub frequently changed the game, or at least made it look like something might happen. He often stuck out as a player who was at least making an effort. I've lost count (well to be fair, I never kept count) of the times he would have a good game, and then be back on the bench. Does anyone have an idea why he didn't get on the pitch against Spurs, following two MoM performances? And as pointed out, he hasn't been given a consistent opportunity to play alongside the best players when he shines. What do you think would happen if Bruno or Pogba was the only real star in a second string team - they wouldn't be able to do what they do best.

This reminds me of when Ole himself was considered only any good as a sub by some people who forgot that he was the first partner Yorke had and didn't exactly fail. Then Ole went on to partner Ruud and they were the highest scoring pairing in some 50 years. Before that, Ole had very few bad games, usually delivered, but was still considered second best. It was as though Fergie had to be justified somehow (which he didnt).
 

Raven

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I don’t get your point here. And I don’t think you understand my point either.

The reason I gave Jones, Welbeck & Cleverley as example is to show people what top players can do in the team. They can make any players better around you which what Carrick & RVP did to those three. And Bruno in the same category. You won’t see the same result with someone like Matic playing next to Jones or Cleverley. There is no excuse for Mata to underperforming in those 3 to 4 years, when clearly the players he played with actually not worse than Jones, Welbeck & Cleverley. The problem was always been the player himself.
I understand your point just fine, I just think it's cliched and wrong. Jones, Welbeck and Cleverley were all members of a title winning squad with the greatest manager of all time at the helm whilst also being good players when they were here. Mata has never played with a United team even close to that level. My point here is that it takes a great team/squad to raise players level not 1 or 2 great players.
 

Sylar

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Ill admit, I thought he needed to go in the summer (or any time within the last couple of years). But his link up with Bruno a few times (not just yesterday) has been fun to watch. A link up between him, Bruno and VDB could be interesting as they all have good link up and off the ball movement
I think we need to manage him like we do with Matic. He cant start Saturday, Wed, Sat but I think with our options we wont need him to.

It will be interesting to see how we go now given he defo has to be an option in certain games.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I understand your point just fine, I just think it's cliched and wrong. Jones, Welbeck and Cleverley were all members of a title winning squad with the greatest manager of all time at the helm whilst also being good players when they were here. Mata has never played with a United team even close to that level. My point here is that it takes a great team/squad to raise players level not 1 or 2 great players.
Your point is irrelevant to those three being members of title winning squad. We had Rio, Vidic, Evra, Rafael & Evans performing in defense. Few average players in the squad doesn’t mean we can’t win the league with them.

My point is simple that top players make players around you better that’s including average players. I made this point because someone made a lame excuse of lack quality around Mata for the reason why Mata has been underperforming for years. Well, it didn’t stop the likes Carrick & RVP to perform playing next to someone like Jones, Welbeck & Cleverley.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Untrue. Mata has been underused, but when coming on as a sub frequently changed the game, or at least made it look like something might happen. He often stuck out as a player who was at least making an effort. I've lost count (well to be fair, I never kept count) of the times he would have a good game, and then be back on the bench. Does anyone have an idea why he didn't get on the pitch against Spurs, following two MoM performances? And as pointed out, he hasn't been given a consistent opportunity to play alongside the best players when he shines. What do you think would happen if Bruno or Pogba was the only real star in a second string team - they wouldn't be able to do what they do best.

This reminds me of when Ole himself was considered only any good as a sub by some people who forgot that he was the first partner Yorke had and didn't exactly fail. Then Ole went on to partner Ruud and they were the highest scoring pairing in some 50 years. Before that, Ole had very few bad games, usually delivered, but was still considered second best. It was as though Fergie had to be justified somehow (which he didnt).
One poster told me because of the lack quality why Mata was underperforming, while you another poster came to me because he’s been underused and sit on the bench when he had good game. Looks like we have variety different opinion not just mine but the other two posters who interacted with me. It doesn’t make sense to play Mata against Spurs just based on being motm against Brighton B team and some championship team.
 

Livvie

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One poster told me because of the lack quality why Mata was underperforming, while you another poster came to me because he’s been underused and sit on the bench when he had good game. Looks like we have variety different opinion not just mine but the other two posters who interacted with me. It doesn’t make sense to play Mata against Spurs just based on being motm against Brighton B team and some championship team.
Can't agree there. Imo, in form players should always be used, whether from the start or as sub.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Can't agree there. Imo, in form players should always be used, whether from the start or as sub.
I disagree, you are ignoring that we were on the run of 14 league games unbeaten with those players and Mata wasn’t part of it, 2 games against Brighton B & championship team just doesn’t make the player all of sudden deserve to play against spurs over the ones who performed for much more games.
 

Grande

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Is it just me, or does Mata look better trained than for years? He seems quicker, more intense sprints, while his stamina seems as high as ever. Maybe he’s hit gold with a change in training regime? It’s just three games with varied opposition. still, he looks physically improved to me, which isn’t just down to form or opposition.

Would be great if he could be useful again.
 

georgipep

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Is it just me, or does Mata look better trained than for years? He seems quicker, more intense sprints, while his stamina seems as high as ever. Maybe he’s hit gold with a change in training regime? It’s just three games with varied opposition. still, he looks physically improved to me, which isn’t just down to form or opposition.

Would be great if he could be useful again.
He also finished a PL game, which he only did twice last season (Norwich, we won, and Burnley, we lost, both at home) and 5 times the season before that. Good signs.

But, to be fair, he usually starts the season strong from a stamina perspective.
 

Livvie

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I disagree, you are ignoring that we were on the run of 14 league games unbeaten with those players and Mata wasn’t part of it, 2 games against Brighton B & championship team just doesn’t make the player all of sudden deserve to play against spurs over the ones who performed for much more games.
Firstly, four games into a season where we haven't been especially convincing, the 14 week run is irrelevant. Secondly, I didn't say he should start. I was asking why an in form player wasn't considered at all. For the record, during the 14 game run, it wasn't an issue - I don't have an agenda, so didn't call for Mata's inclusion then.

I would just be interested to know why he didn't come on against Spurs, when he was the in form player, and the eleven out there were abysmal.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Firstly, four games into a season where we haven't been especially convincing, the 14 week run is irrelevant. Secondly, I didn't say he should start. I was asking why an in form player wasn't considered at all. For the record, during the 14 game run, it wasn't an issue - I don't have an agenda, so didn't call for Mata's inclusion then.

I would just be interested to know why he didn't come on against Spurs, when he was the in form player, and the eleven out there were abysmal.
Crystal Palace & Brighton games were the games we played before we went to Spurs game. I’m not sure where did you count 4 there.

Mata was on the bench against Spurs, so he was being considered.
 

amolbhatia50k

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I've probably flip flopped on him a hundred times, but Mata's the kind of squad player you want - not at his peak but good enough to start if he was.
 

Livvie

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Crystal Palace & Brighton games were the games we played before we went to Spurs game. I’m not sure where did you count 4 there.

Mata was on the bench against Spurs, so he was being considered.
Apologies. I was counting all games.

Bit pedantic saying he was on the bench. I was asking why he wasn't used, bearing in mind that he was the in form player - 2 MoMs and September Player of the Month - and we were being totally outplayed.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Apologies. I was counting all games.

Bit pedantic saying he was on the bench. I was asking why he wasn't used, bearing in mind that he was the in form player - 2 MoMs and September Player of the Month - and we were being totally outplayed.
Your argument is changing here. You are the one who told me this: ‘’I didn't say he should start. I was asking why an in form player wasn't considered at all.‘’

Mata wasn’t on the bench in the game against Brighton. Being on the bench against Spurs means he was being considered in that game due to his good performance in the cup games. What do you expect the manager do when his players were 10 men down when the score was already 4-1? Bring Mata for what? I thought it was the right decision to bring Fred & Scott on rather than another attacking mind player like Mata.
 

Oo0AahCantona

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Player of the season so far. Great to see him playing his best football at (only) 32. Do we fans have a tendency of writing off players as soon as they turn 30? Some sort of ageism?
Yeah it is a bit weird, I think its that the older fans are thinking back to past decades where sport science, training schedules, nutrition and player culture enforced a norm that players would completely fade in their early thirties, and younger fifa playing generations see players as a stat sheet that improves in the 22-27 age range then falls off a cliff.

I think the core argument is solid however that, the premise being, Manchester united are and should be one of the top teams in the world so we should have the best players long term over their prime years. we ideally would have world class players in all positions locked into long term contracts in the 22-26 range.

However, this is very difficult to do, regularly, in the long term. there are a million reasons why players like mata, even in their twilight, are still valuable, and arguably hitting a new peak.
 

Livvie

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Your argument is changing here. You are the one who told me this: ‘’I didn't say he should start. I was asking why an in form player wasn't considered at all.‘’

Mata wasn’t on the bench in the game against Brighton. Being on the bench against Spurs means he was being considered in that game due to his good performance in the cup games. What do you expect the manager do when his players were 10 men down when the score was already 4-1? Bring Mata for what? I thought it was the right decision to bring Fred & Scott on rather than another attacking mind player like Mata.
To weave a bit of magic and create a goal maybe? What else? And I don't have an issue with Fred or McT. I'm just asking out of curiosity, why the in form player wasn't used. There may be a number of valid reasons. It's an enquiry, not a complaint.

Maybe it wasn't obvious I meant why wasn't he brought on and not just considered. So shoot me.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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To weave a bit of magic and create a goal maybe? What else? And I don't have an issue with Fred or McT. I'm just asking out of curiosity, why the in form player wasn't used. There may be a number of valid reasons. It's an enquiry, not a complaint.

Maybe it wasn't obvious I meant why wasn't he brought on and not just considered. So shoot me.
Not sure how Mata can change that 4-1 into 4-3 or something close, even you doubt it yourself. If anything bring In players who can run a lot and cover the ground more when you are one man down is the wise decision and it’s certainly not Mata type of player which is the reason why I mentioned bring in someone like Fred & McT and also Donny type of player was the right decision.

Again, I have given you 2 valid answers that those players Ole used (Mason, Rashford, Martial & Bruno) are the ones had us 14 league games unbeaten, I don’t know how it’s fair to not have faith in them just because of 2 bad games. I also don’t know how it makes sense for Mata to be used against Spurs when we were 10 men down.
 

Raven

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Your point is irrelevant to those three being members of title winning squad. We had Rio, Vidic, Evra, Rafael & Evans performing in defense. Few average players in the squad doesn’t mean we can’t win the league with them.

My point is simple that top players make players around you better that’s including average players. I made this point because someone made a lame excuse of lack quality around Mata for the reason why Mata has been underperforming for years. Well, it didn’t stop the likes Carrick & RVP to perform playing next to someone like Jones, Welbeck & Cleverley.
Their games were raised by having a world class title winning team around them so they could handle a few less than class players. RVP and Carrick most certainly added to that because they were world class but so we're so many others. This notion that a world class player should transform a shit team is nonsense.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Their games were raised by having a world class title winning team around them so they could handle a few less than class players. RVP and Carrick most certainly added to that because they were world class but so we're so many others. This notion that a world class player should transform a shit team is nonsense.
I never say world class player should transform a shit team. You are getting far off from what I said.

I said top players make players around you better that’s including average players. Carrick played with Cleverley or Jones next to him as the midfield partnership, Carrick makes them look better in midfield. RVP played next to Welbeck as the attackers partnership, RVP makes him looks better in attack.
 

Livvie

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Not sure how Mata can change that 4-1 into 4-3 or something close, even you doubt it yourself. If anything bring In players who can run a lot and cover the ground more when you are one man down is the wise decision and it’s certainly not Mata type of player which is the reason why I mentioned bring in someone like Fred & McT and also Donny type of player was the right decision.

Again, I have given you 2 valid answers that those players Ole used (Mason, Rashford, Martial & Bruno) are the ones had us 14 league games unbeaten, I don’t know how it’s fair to not have faith in them just because of 2 bad games. I also don’t know how it makes sense for Mata to be used against Spurs when we were 10 men down.
My midfield from the start would have been Mata, VDB, Fernandes and Greenwood, with Martial and Rashford up front. I suppose there are numerous reasons why that wouldn't work, but it would excite me. An attack minded formation. Pogba not exactly known for his urgency, and Matic can be so laid back he may as well be horizontal.

It wasn't just two bad games - the rot had started to set in again before that. Stuttering performances which saw us scrape into the Europa final and then get beaten in it.
 

Nou_Camp99

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There are certain teams and certain games where Mata is perfect. If the opposition is going to sit back he's always handy to have in the team in that false right wing role he plays.

Against anyone decent he struggles. PSG for example would be a disaster with Mata. He'd get pressed and harassed and wouldn't cope.

Its about picking his games carefully.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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My midfield from the start would have been Mata, VDB, Fernandes and Greenwood, with Martial and Rashford up front. I suppose there are numerous reasons why that wouldn't work, but it would excite me. An attack minded formation. Pogba not exactly known for his urgency, and Matic can be so laid back he may as well be horizontal.

It wasn't just two bad games - the rot had started to set in again before that. Stuttering performances which saw us scrape into the Europa final and then get beaten in it.
Yeah right ‘’from the start‘’. Do you have the proof of ever posting that (your ideal lineup) before the season started? If you aren’t going to be honest again just to comfort yourself in the argument then I think you are wasting people time here.

Everyone were keep saying Mason, Martial, Rashford & Bruno as our front four starting XI from the start of season or even before the season even started.

That’s absolutely non-sense. You used an excuse of us getting beaten when in reality we played very well in that sevilla game. Keeper has to be given credit for making those crazy saves while DDG barely even need to do anything apart from taking goal kick and pick up the ball from his own net from the goals that nothing he could do better.
 

Lassitude42

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Rashford, Martial and Greenwood are all quite similar in that they are "head down, like to dribble" type players. Mata, if used in the right games, offers some nice creativity and contrast to the others. I wouldn't say Rashford, Greenwood or Martial are especially creative.
 

Livvie

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Yeah right ‘’from the start‘’. Do you have the proof of ever posting that (your ideal lineup) before the season started? If you aren’t going to be honest again just to comfort yourself in the argument then I think you are wasting people time here.

Everyone were keep saying Mason, Martial, Rashford & Bruno as our front four starting XI from the start of season or even before the season even started.

That’s absolutely non-sense. You used an excuse of us getting beaten when in reality we played very well in that sevilla game. Keeper has to be given credit for making those crazy saves while DDG barely even need to do anything apart from taking goal kick and pick up the ball from his own net from the goals that nothing he could do better.
Ffs, by 'right from the start' I meant the game against Spurs. I didn't have a particular opinion until the season got underway :rolleyes: And as the season progresses, I'll likely change my mind because I have this strange idea of using the players who are in form.

Wasting people's time by having an opinion? Who died and made you King?
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Ffs, by 'right from the start' I meant the game against Spurs. I didn't have a particular opinion until the season got underway :rolleyes: And as the season progresses, I'll likely change my mind because I have this strange idea of using the players who are in form.

Wasting people's time by having an opinion? Who died and made you King?
You are keep changing your argument again here. You are the one who told me this about the spurs game: ‘’I didn't say he should start.’’

And now you said he should have start against spurs. :houllier:

If you are going to keep changing your opinion like that then you are wasting people time here.
 
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Livvie

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You are keep changing your argument again here. You are the one who told me this about the spurs game: ‘’I didn't say he should start.’’

And now you said he should have start against spurs. :houllier:

If you are going to keep changing your opinion like that then you are wasting people time here.
Well you're wasting mine by constantly putting your own spin on what I say.

I never said he should have started. I did ask for opinions on why as the in form player, he didn't.

I said he would have been in my line up - but I also said that there were likely several reasons why my line up wouldn't work. I don't claim to be a supreme tactician so quite happy to accept that a good manager would know better than me.

I haven't changed my opinion about anything.

Are you deliberately awkward and antagonistic, or just obtuse?
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Well you're wasting mine by constantly putting your own spin on what I say.

I never said he should have started. I did ask for opinions on why as the in form player, he didn't.

I said he would have been in my line up - but I also said that there were likely several reasons why my line up wouldn't work. I don't claim to be a supreme tactician so quite happy to accept that a good manager would know better than me.

I haven't changed my opinion about anything.

Are you deliberately awkward and antagonistic, or just obtuse?
I don’t see how you are telling me about how he would have been in your line up is relevant to our original discussion. I don’t know what’s the purpose, are you just trying to make new argument? Wasting people time?

May be you shouldn’t talk something that’s irrelevant to the discussion if you don’t want someone to put their own spin on what you say.
 
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Paddy B

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Your comment on Mata now having the opportunity to link with players like Fernandez and VDB got me thinking. I love the clever and top technical players and when United signed him I thought he would be a major asset for the team. You have to wonder what kind of impact and success Mata would have achieved if he had played regularly with the likes of David Silva and KDB in a Guardiola style team.
 

Raven

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Rashford, Martial and Greenwood are all quite similar in that they are "head down, like to dribble" type players. Mata, if used in the right games, offers some nice creativity and contrast to the others. I wouldn't say Rashford, Greenwood or Martial are especially creative.
I'd have to disagree, Martial is very creative for a CF.
 

Foxbatt

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My opinion is that when he is playing with other top players he is getting more space now. Before they could mark Mata and that's the end of it. Now they have to mark Bruno and Pogba too so it gives Mata that extra time and space.
 

Adamsk7

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I think he’s quality and always has been, we just haven’t had many intelligent players for him to play with that like that pass and move, one touch stuff. We’ve had individuals (and still do across our forward line). Bruno and VDB help get the best out of him and vice versa. Should probably be our starter on the right where appropriate - his defensive work is also underrated.
 

tomaldinho1

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I've probably flip flopped on him a hundred times, but Mata's the kind of squad player you want - not at his peak but good enough to start if he was.
This is exactly right - he's obviously a clever footballer but he suits specific games. Essentially he is the anti-Fellaini.

You keep him on the bench when playing an aggressive high press team but against a Newcastle, Burnley or Palace team - where they are highly structured and generally sit a bit deeper, he's a great option.
 
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