Many expected United to be a different team following the arrival of Juan Mata: former Chelsea superstar and ace number 10. While he may have racked up three assists is four games, the numbers don't tell the real story.
Since Mata's arrival, United have continued to look woefully average. 81 crosses and only two goals, given one of them came via massive deflection isn't an impressive result by any count. The best word to describe United would be predictable. The irony stems from the fact that Mata was brought in for the very purpose of adding a degree of unpredictability to United's game. But four games in, Mata doesn't looked to have gelled with the team at all. He seems to randomly wander the field when his team doesn't have the ball, and misplaces more passes than he completes in the other team's third of the pitch.
Mata was very clearly the wrong person to bring into the team. United already have at least one better player than him capable of playing in the position in Wayne Rooney and possibly Adnan Januzaj. Mata is an established name but Januzaj has produced when United have needed him. Now which merits a place in the team: Performance or price tag?
Januzaj is the definition of unpredictability. While his left foot is significantly better than his right, he still has the ability to go either way on the wing, something his predecessor Antonio Valencia is not. While he doesn't put up the same numbers as Mata, he adds an extra degree to the defensive line and has great chemistry with the rest of the team. He is able to predict his teammates runs and play accordingly.
Mata, similarly is known for his capricious style of play. A footballer with a knack for finding the right pass at the right time, Mata is an impact player. Even in his first four games, he has registered more assists than Januzaj has in his footballing career. Numbers like that are hard to argue with. Mata's main detriment however must be the fact that he's a new player on a transforming team. United's being in transition doesn't help what was always going to be a rocky transition into a struggling team.
So who deserves to be in the team? The ideal solution would include both these incredibly gifted players. However, three number 10's in one team (assuming Rooney is in the team as well) is too much. Mata's proven record means that he should be given an extended run in the team before United fans deem him another Shinji Kagawa. While little is more frustrating than being benched while putting in stellar performances, Januzaj has to come to terms with his age. He's only 18 and has the world at his feet. Although he is supremely talented, Mata's experience wins this battle.
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