Juan Mata… Adapt or Sit on the Bench?

“Juan Mata nearly joined PSG this summer” – PSG Manager Laurent Blanc

A nervous transfer deadline day for Chelsea fans where every true blue kept on praying that time fly fast and by 11pm BST, Juan Mata’s transfer rumor should not become a reality.

What has happened suddenly to Chelsea’s player of the season from last 2 years? Is it his attitude? or his limitations have curbed his thankless talent?

The answer is hidden in the changed incurred this summer. After the arrival of Jose Mourinho, one thing was quite evident that the team will get defensively astute, where wingers will track back to provide cover to full backs.

The acquisition of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen was an evident answer to the tactical change Chelsea were about to embrace. Since, Schurrle was rated for his defensive contribution from his time in Germany.

The other Chelsea boys Eden Hazard and Oscar Dos Santos, adapted to this new philosophy relatively quickly and results were showcased with their performances in Premier League and Champions League game against Basel.

However, Juan Mata who has been one of the prime players from last two season, nourished by playing in a free role with no defensive responsibilites to look forward to. His major contribution in list of assits and goals was because of this tactic that Chelsea always used for him.

But, under Jose things unfortunately couldn’t change too quickly for him and he is yet to work on his defensive side of the game. Clearly, thats the area which Juan Mata has to improve and improve pretty quickly.

If we look at his defensive stats from 2012/13 season and compare it with Eden Hazard’s, it is evident that Mata lacks defensive craft that Hazard has.

EH Def 254x300 Eden Hazard Vs Juan Mata | Chelsea Wizards Statistically Compared    JM Def 252x300 Eden Hazard Vs Juan Mata | Chelsea Wizards Statistically Compared

The difference can be seen and analysed from every angle. More interceptions, more tackles, more ariel duels and in the end more impact on the game.

Clearly, for Jose Mourinho, the choice has been made simple. Pick players that create a bigger impact for a longer period of time.

But do we have to worry? I believe the answer is YES. Juan is not showing signs of adaptation until recently, and that, might be last scratch in the sinking Chelsea career of the “El-Matador”.

Jose Mourinho in his recent press conference has challenged the little Spainiard to change and challenge Oscar for No. 10 spot.

He quoted, “It’s part of a process with him, too. It is one thing to play with Ramires and Oscar closing down opponents on each side, and Mata as a No10 behind a striker with his clever assists, clever passes and fantastic actions because he has great talent. But it is another thing to adapt to the way we want to play. In this moment, Oscar is my No10 and, if anyone tells me Oscar has not been Chelsea’s best player this season, I’d have todisagree. I have to prove to the fans that I am good. Now [Mata] must do the same.”

We all should hope, he adapts Jose’s system, and if he is does, he might become our new “Zola” that many people craving to see.

  1. Anonymous says

    Rooney does the defensive work and assists and score goals. Oscar does it perfectly and score goals. So far he has been our great player, so why mata cannot do that? We were winning 1-0 with Basel. When mata came in, 10 minutes later, it was 1-2 for Basel. Losing ball. He was Awfull. He has to improve. Simple like that.

  2. Akinwumi Steven says

    I disagree with u on that coz every player has their own duties on the pitch.Mata’s our magician and we lacked his creativity on the field that’s the reason why Jose must trust and also give him a chance!

  3. qwec-i says

    You don’t know what you’re doing Jose!!!!

  4. Martin, Norway. says

    I hope Mata joins PSG in January that will do him more than good for his career especially since Mourinho is in charge and he does not intend to change his tactics to suit him. I guess he is becoming a surplus because of his defensive vulnerabilities. Am not sure Mourinho will change his tactics to suit a player. The last two seasons he really was a delight and entertaining to watch. If Jose wants Mata to adapt i think its part of the coach to teach him how to defend obviously or turn the player into the sort of player he want him to be on the pitch.

    1. Anonymous says

      the player must also accept to do that. He has started now 3 matches and we didnt see anything new!!!!

      1. carlosnafigueira says

        When you play little you don’t perform at top of your ability. Not Mata’s fault

  5. Irokotola michael says

    mata? Delight and entertaining to watch? Season before the last, sixth in the log, last one third. Let the guy try and adapt he will be more complete than oscar. Some people will be working like elephant for you? It’s not easy to track back and gain possession. he should try and do that too. We all love him.

    1. Miliky says

      God bless you for dat

  6. Irokotola michael says

    oscar work rate are always high whenever he plays, but he should be fitted in another position and not in that playmaking role. Is he playmaking? Not at all. He is not a playmaker but a possessing breaker. Not trying to criticise him o, but he’s not a good passer, no assists all this while, he’s played five matches and no assist as a playmaker, it’s very bad. De bruyne will be better in term of assists and possession breaking. Thou he need some corrections too.

  7. Jeff says

    I don’t really get JM idea of everyone defending, the quality is there to play wonderful football, I think Mata playing from the right wing wouldn’t work but hope it does cos he has been great for chelsea.
    I also hope JM isn’t trying to make us mechanical and very predictable to play against.. Willian can use both feets, hazard also any of them can be made to play from the right wing…
    I think JM has something against Spanish players..all have been benched

  8. Neri Abayomi says

    @Irokotola : Can one player win you the league? No.

    Just like Ozil, Mata is never going to good in his defending duties. But he can offer loads of assists and goals, like he has done so far in Chelsea colours.

    Mata has never played from the right wing in his former club or under AvB, Di Matteo and Benitez.

    @ Valencia- Left Wing
    @ Chelsea (AvB)- Left Wing
    @ Chelsea (Di & Benitez) – 10

    I saw the Fulham game from start to finish. Oscar has been super but he ain’t no outstanding playmaker, in fact he hasn’t succeeded in creating any goal opportunity for our strikers, rather he scores from the passes of others.

    Oscar is a wonderful link up player and he can intercept well, defending and carry the ball well. This got me thinking, Oscar would be super @ the pivot, breaking up play, making those long passes, bursting forward to put opponents on the back foot and rententing possession.

    The truth be told we can’t win any big game playing like this.

    A lot applauded our performance against Bayern, but that performance showed me how light years behind we are. Conceding possession intentionally to a midfield pairing of Muller, Kroos and Lahm says a lot. No wonder when Martinez got on to the pitch of play it was relatively easier for them to hurt us.

    We have real attacking talents right now and we can play better, win better, boss most teams. C’mon we have Willian, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, KDB, Schuurle, MvG, Ramires, Lampard, Luiz, Azpilicueta and Mikel.

    We had no pattern against Fulham. Fulham was just poor, if BENT had converted his chance, it would v bin a different story. Mou is older and as such he shd change and alter his style to become more unpredictable.
    We were playing cross and nod @ a point b4 dat lucky opening goal. Unimpressive despite the win. Super Mikel, Super Goal, May you score lots of them.

  9. JAYDE says

    Mata fans.. at least that’s what it appears. JM does not hate Spanish players like you lament so don’t overheat the issue. All our dear Mata needs, is to learn to be a complete player. Learn new things from colleagues and the Manager, and finally raise his game. CR7 and Messi do these things. offensively and defensively, they are good.

    So fans that are arguing too much on this Mata syndrome should pls rethink before they bring in their sentiments. Mata will be fine when he decides to. It all largely depends on him.

    1. Jeff says

      I hope so

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