Santi Cazorla vs Juan Mata: World Cup Contention up For Grabs
First things first, both Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla has stellar campaigns last season. Both the Spaniards play for two of the most high profile clubs in the EPL, albeit Arsenal and Chelsea. Whereas Cazorla isn’t fully fit yet and is has spent almost the whole of this season on the sidelines, there is certainly “What’s the Mata with Mourinho?” The Self proclaimed Special One or the Happy One as you may call him, has persisted to field Oscar as the number ten role for Chelsea instead of Mata, thus limiting the Spaniard’s first team action. Even though the EPL has just started with only seven games done, we expect both the Spaniards to make significant impacts for their respective teams.
Come next summer, we are more than sure that Vincent Del Bosque is sure to pick both of these diminutive midfielders, but if we are to make a selection, who will edge out the other? In this era of the classical 4-2-3-1, the number ten role has become more pivotal to any side’s attacking prowess. It would quite interesting to see on how Arsene Wenger uses Cazorla, now that Mesut ozil is the central of the Gunners attack in the final third. What I make of it is perhaps, Cazorla will be drafted out wide on the left and will have more of a roaming role. Whereas the same can also be said of Mata, this certainly will cut their natural instincts, but we might see the best of them in the current season.
Based on possession, I feel Cazorla is better at ball retention and can drop deep when needed and help and build from the back. While Mata certainly doesn’t possesses this characteristic trait, Cazorla also outplays his Spanish Counterpart when it comes to playing between the channels. However, when it comes to creativity, Mata outscores Cazorla albeit his key passes and chances created per game. Consider last season, when Rafa Benitez advised Mata to play closer to the lone striker up front, remember his winning goal at Old Trafford?
On Goal scoring abilities, both of the two are equally matched and its almost impossible to distinguish them based on the stats. Both of them also have been fouled equal number of times and are also deadly from set pieces, something which provides a columnist’s nightmare to compare the two!
However, if I do have to put my thinking cap on, I would say its Juan Mata who comes out on top, albeit his Big Match Temperament. His touch, vision and the willingness to find the decisive pass in the final third is something which, I would be fair to say, is lacking in case of Cazorla. Remember his stellar displays against Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the way to Champions League glory? Plus going by scoring charts, Mata has more goals when it comes to against the so called big teams in the EPL.
While this would be a bit cruel to say, but I would certainly not want to make a choice, but I do have to, I would pick Juan Mata ahead of Santi Cazorla.