Juan Mata's Chelsea career has proved somewhat under-whelming since the return of the charismatic Portuguese manager. Chelsea fans have been relentless in their support for the man they believe can and will give them the edge, but Jose Mourinho has been fairly sparse with the use of the Spanish international.
The 25-year-old earned his first start for the club at the weekend since the disappointing 2-0 loss against Newcastle and before the game started, all eyes were on him.
Southampton have been notoriously solid this season, and even now after conceding 3 goals at the hands of Chelsea, still have the joint best defense in the Premier League.
The Spaniard was utilised as such, that he would have to prove the creative difference along with Hazard and Oscar if Chelsea were to be fruitful in front of goal. He definitely didn't disappoint.
Despite only being credited with one assist, he was ever-present in trying to create goalscoring opportunities for his team-mates. He was statistically superior to anyone else on the pitch in this aspect.
Juan Mata - 5
Branislav Ivanovic - 2
Cesar Azpilicueta - 2
And in other departments he was equally impressive:
2 successful dribbles
77% pass accuracy
After the game, he earned special praise from the manager he has found hard to impress and will be a huge boost in confidence as he looks to put a run of first-team appearances together that could rekindle his old form and show Mourinho more what he has been missing.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald