In their first game of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent managerial reign, Manchester United scraped through a win like the old days. They were outworked and outwitted, but swift counter-attacks along with surprisingly stern defending from the back four allowed them to see through the result.
David Moyes signed Juan Mata back in January of 2014 and it’s safe to say he proved to be a genius signing.
However, United couldn’t move as quickly as they wanted to, mostly due to Juan Mata’s lethargic display as their No 10. The Spaniard made his first start since the Liverpool draw and was extremely unconvincing in being the key to unlock Watford’s defence.
Indeed, he was poor in movement, often slowing down United’s attack with his predictable passing. Undoubtedly one of the most gifted playmakers we’ve seen in the Premier League in recent years, perhaps this is a season too far for a player so clearly on the wane.
While Mata did link-up well with Anthony Martial, he could never churn that killer pass to his forwards, something so natural to him a few years ago. After being taken off, his replacement Jesse Lingard’s swiftness into action allowed United to seal the deal when he laid Martial’s winner after coming on. Sadly, the England international’s incisiveness is not something Mata can replicate anymore.
In the system Solskjaer prefers, the Spaniard is turning into a liability. He can’t just sit in one place and dictate games like he used to. Under the Norwegian, he’s only assisted one goal in seven games and he isn’t agile enough nor creative enough to actually make the forward runs and dictate the tempo of United’s fast-paced system.
As his contract runs down this summer (as per the Sun), the Red Devils shouldn’t bother renewing it. Mata doesn’t suit Solskjaer’s shape at all, as he should be allowed to leave and be replaced with an emerging youth academy star.
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