Juan Mata has been Chelsea's most productive player this season, while David Silva was in scintillating form for Premier League champions Manchester City last year.
Their playing styles are remarkably similar: both are blessed with excellent dribbling skills, pin-point passing and fantastic flair - so, which of the Spain internationals is the better player?
Juan Mata | Chelsea
The Spanish sensation has been a revelation since his arrival at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of the 2011/12 season. He has altered the way that Chelsea play very much for the better. Previously, Chelsea were known as a robust team who were physical and very hard to beat. This style brought Chelsea great success and many expected this style to continue for a long time to come. However, Mata differs completely from a typical Chelsea player such as Claude Makélelé and Frank Lampard. Those players are known for tackling, power and efficiency, however Mata brings something a little bit different.
Mata has the eye to pick a pass and create a chance that only a few players on the planet have the ability to do. In addition to this he has flair and can beat a man so many times he'll make them go dizzy. Also, Mata's consistency minute-by-minute and game-by-game is what puts him up there with the very best the Premier League has to offer.
Mata has, without a doubt, been Chelsea's best and most consistent player of the season. Every game he works hard for the team and influences the game in a positive manner if you are a Chelsea fan. Finally, his statistics speak for themselves: with 10 goals and 12 assist in the Premier League this season Mata has established himself as the top of the Chelsea team and will surely feature in the team of the season.
David Silva | Manchester City
The midfield magician was instrumental in helping Manchester City lift the Premier League trophy last year. However, this season Sliva's form has fluctuated regularly: one minute he's sparkling, spraying passes around the pitch and threading through balls so good that most players can only dream of playing them, and the next minute he can't even play a simple 10-yard pass.
In all fairness some of his inconsistency can be put down to injuries. Nevertheless it is these flashes of brilliance that remind all football fans that Silva can still mix it with the best in the world. Even with Silva's temperamental form this season he is still rightly considered to be one of the best attacking talents in the league.
Going forward Silva is fantastic and there are not many better; however, the biggest question asked about Silva is about his defensive work rate. Tracking back is definitely not his strongest point as on numerous occasions he just doesn't bother to do so.
Given City's formation which usually contains two holding midfielders Silva is not asked to regularly track back therefore we can give him the benefit of the doubt there. This season Silva has scored three goals and has 11 assist which isn't bad at all. Just imagine how many goals and assists Silva would have stacked up if he played well consistently. It's almost as mind-blowing as watching Silva play the beautiful game at full throttle.
I believe that Mata, on this season's form, just wins the battle. His consistency and goalscoring attributes just edges him above Silva as the best central attacking midfielder in the league. If I would have written this article a year ago I would have said that Silva just edges it, which shows just how close these two mavericks of the midfield are in terms of class and ability.
Don't be surprised if in one years' time Silva has just pipped Mata but at this moment in time Mata is top if the league in his position.
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