You know you must have done something spectacular to earn praise from the normally docile and reserved Louis Van Gaal. Against Liverpool, Juan Mata scored two brilliant goals to not only give Manchester United the win over their rivals but also puncture Liverpool’s hopes of overtaking United into the top 4.
Juan Mata’s performance at Anfield was probably one of the best displays from a United player in quite a while, he was simply imperious down United’s right side and Liverpool’s defence or Alberto Moreno in this case just could not deal with the wily Spaniard, who seems to have found a new lease of life at United. At one time, he was expected to be sold but now he has replaced the costlier Angel Di Maria as the go-to guy for United, he might not be playing behind the striker, which is his preferred position but he is going great guns nevertheless.
The key to United isn’t an Angel but Hakuna –Mata-ta
Manchester United have 8 games to go to ensure they qualify for the Champions League or even go higher in the Premier League table but their key to making it into the top 4 at least rests surprisingly in the form of Juan Mata.
His new role on the right side of the team is something which he might not have been accustomed to, but that hasn’t bogged him down. He was always a technically gifted player and was special but for some reason things did not click for him in his first season at United after he was rather discarded by Jose Mourinho despite being Chelsea player of the year.
The Moyes reign might have been a disaster and the same could have been said about his future under Van Gaal but Mata has let his feet do the talking. Angel Di Maria just wasn’t clicking for United and bringing in Mata was the only other conclusion, especially when Adnan Januzaj seems to have lost all his sheen.
Although the Spaniard has only played in 27 games this season, he has scored 8 goals in all competitions, this is more than his total for last season and he could end up scoring a few more goals as well. His ability to link up with the strikers even when he is playing a wider role is great for United and the fact that Fellaini seems to be clicking and linking up with Mata holds good stead for the team.
In the first goal against Liverpool, it was a great through ball from Ander Herrera which saw Mata run through on goal and provide a great finish, the second goal was pure class as his scissors kick was executed perfectly to beat Mignolet. With tough games coming up against City, Chelsea, Everton & Arsenal, Mata’s resurgence for United could be incredibly important.