Manchester United fans probably didn’t predict Juan Mata would be the star of the show when they faced Norwich on the back of defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City but that’s exactly what happened.
Mata’s creativity and playmaking turned out to be crucial for United who have often struggled against deep, defensive, stubborn opposition.
However, neither have the vision or passing ability of Mata who may have just played his way into the legendary Norwegian’s plans.
Glorious from Mata, he has no legs but is still probably our most creative player ????
— Pilib De Brún (Phil Brown) (@Malachians) January 11, 2020
His legs may be gone, but Mata is still our best playmaker in these types of games when teams sit this deep in a low block and just want to defend. By far our most clever and creative player to unlock the door. Fantastic assist for Rashford's goal. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/SIIvyUsadY
— UnitedReds (@UnitedRedscom) January 11, 2020
Two assists from Juan Mata? Bloke heard Fernandes was on the plane and ran it back to 2012.
— ً (@UtdHenry) January 11, 2020
Juan Mata today pic.twitter.com/SqGJS3lloj
— ???? (@futbolahmed) January 11, 2020
A finished Mata is showing us how we desperately need that ball-magnet, creative presence between the lines. Add mobility & 1v1 ability to Mata & you have Sancho.
— Adroit Cadet (@Adroit_Cadet) January 11, 2020
The obvious reason why Solskjaer hasn’t played Mata so far is because of the player’s lack of pace and mobility which is so crucial to the counter-attacking style associated with Manchester United this season.
However, especially in matches where their opponents sit deep, it makes sense to pick the talented Spaniard as he can be key to unlocking these kinds of teams.