When Manchester United completed the signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea, there was a sense of optimism in the air at Old Trafford that he could be the man to save the club’s horrific season and guide them to a top-four spot.
However, since he has arrived, Manchester United have won one, drawn one and lost one. It has not quite been the ‘dream start’ the Spaniard was looking forward to at Old Trafford.
Astonishingly, David Moyes has decided to deploy Mata on the right wing rather than in his favoured role behind the striker, which has not only reduced Mata’s influence of the game, but also affected the team.
After signing a quality ‘number 10’ midfielder of the stature of Mata, you would expect him to be playing in his favoured position in a 4-2-3-1 formation. However, Moyes’ idea to play him on the right wing of the 4-4-2 formation in recent games for Manchester United has left supporters puzzled.
His situation is similar to that of Shinji Kagawa, who was purchased from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2012. Kagawa excelled in Germany; however, he failed in England. Why? Well, of course, there may be several reasons behind his inability to produce the same world-class performances in the Premier League. However, both Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson often used him on the left wing, which is probably the main cause of his downfall.
Mata may have three assists in three games for United but has not quite had the same impact on the game that he would have probably had if he played in the number 10 role.
As we saw last year, Kagawa scored a hat-trick for Manchester United and yet failed to cement his place in the starting 11 due to his lack of influence of the game, which was caused by Ferguson playing him out of position.
With Moyes playing Mata on the right wing, he may face the same fate as Kagawa.
Of course, Mata may yet prove me wrong and become a legend at Old Trafford; however, as of now the only difference between him and Kagawa is that he is being used on the right wing and Kagawa is being used on the left wing.
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