[Statistics] Juan Mata or Santi Cazorla: Who Deserves A Place In The Spain Starting Eleven At The World Cup?

Spain Mata Cazorla

With the World Cup coming up in less than four months’ time, the time is running out for most players to secure a seat on the plane to Brazil. While that may not be the case for Spaniards Santi Cazorla of Arsenal and Juan Mata of Manchester United, since both of them are almost assured of a place in the squad, the question is, who will make it into the starting eleven.

Both Cazorla and Mata have been outstanding in their performances over the last couple of seasons, and their stats undoubtedly point to that fact. However, with the competition for places at an all-time high in the Spain starting eleven, it is likely that only one of the will make it through. So, looking at the statistics, let us have a look as to who is more deserving of the two players to get the nod.

The two players have almost identical numbers when it comes to scoring goals or creating chances. Considering that Mata’s numbers have suffered due to the dearth of playing time in the first half of the season, the two players are quite evenly matched when it comes to the statistics.

However, when it comes to a more all round game, Cazorla quite literally leaves Mata behind in his wake. Looking at the defensive contributions of the two players, it is quite clear as to who takes more responsibility while defending – Cazorla is much more willing to track back and help out his defenders as compared to Mata; perhaps Mourinho wasn’t so wrong in benching Mata after all.

Not only is Cazorla willing to stick his foot in when needed, he’s also frequently in his own half to help out his defenders by making interceptions and clearances- much more than Mata atleast. In fact, Cazorla is much more willing to take players on compared to Mata, as evidenced by his much higher number of successful take ons as well as the take on success rate.

Spain’s entire game is built on pressing high up the pitch, and looking at the numbers, Cazorla looks like the more suited of the two to fit in into the side. In a big game which is likely to be a closely contested affair, the manager would much rather have a player who is willing to run around for 90 minutes in addition to playing the killer balls or taking on opposition players, and Cazorla ticks all the boxes.

That is not to say that Mata would not add value to the Spain team- his vision will definitely come in handy for unlocking stubborn defenses that look to park the bus in front of goal, but those kind of games are likely to be few and far between, and mostly limited to the early rounds when Spain will face off against the smaller teams.

So, the numbers clearly suggest that Cazorla is better suited to take up a starting berth in the Spanish starting eleven, but ultimately it will all come down to the coach, Vicente Del Bosque, and we’ll have to wait four more months to know it.

Stats via Squawka

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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