Manchester United overcame the first hurdle in their tough run of fixtures towards the end of the season by comfortably beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on Sunday.
Replacing the suspended Angel di Maria, Mata was devastatingly effective against Spurs and received a standing ovation when he was brought off on 77 minutes.
The Spaniard’s performance gave Louis van Gaal a headache when it comes to deciding whether or not to reinstate Di Maria for Mata when United take on Liverpool later on this week. With this in mind, we asked our Twitter followers for their opinion on who should start:
— Kyle Quinn (@KyleJQuinn) March 16, 2015
— Noel Fleming (@Noelf21) March 16, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ tough.. BUT Mata doesn't give the ball away as much which is vital! Di Maria should come on last 10/15
— James (@jimmydan33) March 16, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ Tough question but I would start Di Maria instead. Adds pace and slightly better at creating chances than Mata
— Will (@TheCityIsRED1) March 16, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ Mata should start, shouldn't be dropped after a good performance and he helped us keep the ball higher up the pitch
— Jamie Cole (@jamiecole_) March 16, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ start both. Mata and Herrera need to play together. Their partnership is fantastic and links up well with others as well.
— Hamza Khan (@realhamzakhan) March 16, 2015
@PeoplesPerson_ Di Maria for his pace, plus Mata's away showings haven't been great, vast difference between his Home & Away performances
— Suhail (@ana7uhail) March 16, 2015
One game doesn’t make a player but Mata’s performance seems to have convinced a large section of fans that he should start at Anfield.
On one hand, Mata’s clever passing could expose Liverpool’s leaky defence. On the other, Di Maria would provide a welcome outlet for United on the break if they are under pressure. Starting both would likely weaken United defensively, which they cannot afford to do in such an important game.