Despite winning the Player of the Year award in both of his full seasons at Chelsea, Juan Mata was deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho and was moved on to Manchester United in January 2014.
Instead, Mourinho was said to prefer Oscar in his starting XI at Stamford Bridge due to the Brazilian’s superior defensive contribution.
It was pragmatic reasoning for Mata’s departure and Mourinho looked to have been proven right as Mata went through a mixed start to life at Old Trafford.
However, the Spaniard has pushed on under Louis van Gaal, playing a crucial part in United’s recent six-game winning streak in the Premier League. They say stats don’t lie, and Mata has outperformed Oscar in every key aspect since arriving at United:
Stats and graphic courtesy of www.oulala.com
Mata has more successful passes per game, a better pass completion rate, more assists, more goals and more key passes per game.
On top of that, the 26-year-old boasts a better shot accuracy and a far higher number of goals.
Stats can often be cherry picked to fit an agenda but there is no doubt whatsoever that Mata has outperformed Oscar in all the key areas that make up an attacking midfielder.
Mourinho didn’t want Mata because of his defensive frailties but Louis van Gaal has shown how good he can be when played in the right way.
The hope for United fans is that he can keep up his good form when United visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.