The Juan Mata conundrum at Chelsea
There was lots of speculation surrounding Chelsea’s two time player of the year Juan Mata that he would be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer as he is well not in the plans of Jose Mourinho. It is worth giving a thought though as to whether one of the most successful and experienced managers in the world of football like Mourinho would allow a world class player like Mata leave? That sounds insanely absurd. What would be the reason that forced Mourinho not to feature Mata in any of the Chelsea games so far except against Aston Villa at the Bridge?
It is quite interesting to see as a matter of fact that Chelsea’s Juan Mata has played an astonishing 137 games for club and country with absolutely NO break since he arrived at Stamford Bridge and scored on his debut against Norwich City in the 3-1 victory. He didn’t have a break after the first season with Chelsea due to his commitments to Spain in Euro 2012. After playing an important role in Spain’s triumph at Euro 2012 he was off to London Olympics representing Spain as one of the over aged players in the team. Due to Spain’s early group stage exit at the Olympics Mata rejoined Chelsea for their pre-season. After just 11 days of pre-season training Mata joined Chelsea first team playing the Community Shield against Manchester City. As that season progressed which was a club record for Chelsea playing the most number of matches (69) in the season, Mata was present almost in every game in a Chelsea side that competed for Premiere League, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the Club World Cup.
Mata has played 3852 minutes of football for Chelsea in 266 days since the start of Premiere League in 2011. That averages to a minimum of 14 minutes of competitive football every single day. Apart from this he also manages to keep his personal blog updated. That is a load of work load!
Mata’s overall passing accuracy stands out to an impressive 86% in the 2012-13 season. He averages to a minimum of 53 passes per match out of which 2 being key passes. Put it in comparison with world record signing PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale whose accuracy of passing stands to 77% averaging only 33 passes per game.
After such a hectic 2012-13 season Mata returned to pre season training in US a little late with his Spanish compatriots due to Spain’s involvement in the Confederations Cup. After a few days of training however Mata suffered pain on his quadriceps and was treated. Rumours about Mata leaving the West London outfit became even more strong when Mata didn’t feature in Chelsea’s opening game against Hull City. However he started against Aston Villa but was replaced by new signing Schurrle after 64 minutes.
All sorts of stories started building up in the media when Mata was again dropped by Mourinho at Old Trafford and further when Mata warmed the bench for 120 minutes at Prague against Bayern Munich in the Super Cup. Jose however had only one thing to say:
“Everything is clear between me and the player, we have no problems. He is a very important player for us. He wants to stay, I want him to stay. So there is no story.”
Mourinho also said how he admired his right sided player being left footed that suggested Mata might play in a new role as a right winger than his preferred position as a true No.10. So all that Mata needed was a good amount of rest and he is back training with the team. I see Juan Mata as a future Chelsea legend and not someone whom Jose Mourinho would offload.
“I think it’s normal in every transfer window that there are lots of rumours but I’m happy here. It’s been a very, very good two seasons for me here, maybe the best of my career, and what I want this season is the same.”