Who is better statistically - Mata or Silva?

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Manchester United broke their transfer this week announcing the £37.1 million signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea.

The Premier League champions’ Spanish midfielder arrived in the Premier League in 2011 one year after his elder countryman David Silva arrived in England in 2010.

Both are highly regarded as two of the finest creative midfield players of their generation and both will be hoping to use the remainder of the season to prove their worth to the Spain national team ahead of the World Cup in Brazil but which of the pair is the better statistically – the Manchester City maestro or the Manchester United signing?

Taking the records of the last three seasons since Mata’s arrival at Stamford Bridge (whilst remembering Silva is almost three years Mata’s senior) who has been the better and more consistent performer?

Silva has played a total of 6,383 minutes of Premier League football since the start of the 2011/12 season to Mata’s 6,071 minutes. In that time frame, Silva has scored a total of 14 goals and Mata has scored 17, which correlates as a David Silva goal every 456 minutes and a Juan Mata goal every 357 minutes across those three seasons.

But, goals are not the yardstick for these two playmakers who are better known for the exceptional ability to create goals. Silva has made 29 assists in the league for Manchester City since the start of the 2011/12 season to Mata’s 32 assists made for Chelsea, representing an assist for Silva every 220 minutes and a goal created by Mata every 189 minutes in the three-year period.

The pair have played almost the same number of games with Mata having actually made two more appearances (82) than Silva (80) in the league. Mata’s pass completion rate so far this term has been 88.1% accuracy; it was 85.2% last term and 87% in his debut season in England. Silva’s this season so far is 87.9% accuracy, following 85.4% last term and 87.1% the previous season. That averages out so close it’s impossible to set them apart with Mata’s overall passing accuracy 86.7% and Silva’s 86.8%.

In terms of their technical ability on the ball, David Silva is the better dribbler evidenced by his twenty more successful dribbles (82) in that time period than Mata (62).

Overall, there is very little between the pair – Silva cost City £25 million which was almost £3 million more than Mata when he signed for Chelsea a year later but now represents a £12 million saving in terms of the cost-effectiveness for United’s signing this week.

Mata scores more goals and makes more assists across fewer minutes on the pitch, that is statistically true, the pair complete almost the very same number of attempted passes accurately, but David Silva is the better dribbler of the two at three years Juan Mata’s senior and the City maestro has been awarded more Man of the Match awards (10) in that period than his younger compatriot (6).

image: © fdecomite

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