The one area Juan Mata underperformed for Manchester United v Stoke

Stoke Britannia Stadium

Juan Mata's crossing at the Britannia left much to be desired for.

Juan Mata has had an excellent start to life at Manchester United, but there was one area of his game at the weekend which clearly required more work.

As United crashed to a surprise 2-1 defeat, Mata attempted nine crosses, not one of them finding a teammate.

As far as United are concerned, only one player from the Red Devils has attempted more this season and found a teammate on no occasions, Wayne Rooney in the home game against Stoke earlier in the season.

The below table illustrates all United players who have attempted nine or more crosses in any game this season, and there are some woeful statistics in there.

Mata wasn't the only offender at the weekend, Ashley Young managed to find a teammate with just one of nine crosses.

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosCrossing Accuracy %Total CrossAccurate CrossMins
Patrice Evra Man Utd vs Stoke 09 Man Utd DF 22.22 9 2 90
Juan Mata Stoke vs Man Utd 24 Man Utd MF 0.00 9 0 90
Nani Man Utd vs West Brom 06 Man Utd MF 33.33 9 3 90
Wayne Rooney Spurs vs Man Utd 13 Man Utd FW 11.11 9 1 90
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd vs Arsenal 11 Man Utd MF 22.22 9 2 90
Ashley Young Liverpool vs Man Utd 03 Man Utd MF 11.11 9 1 63
Ashley Young Stoke vs Man Utd 24 Man Utd MF 11.11 9 1 90
Patrice Evra Sunderland vs Man Utd 07 Man Utd DF 30.00 10 3 90
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd vs Swansea 21 Man Utd MF 30.00 10 3 90
Wayne Rooney Cardiff vs Man Utd 12 Man Utd FW 70.00 10 7 90
Luis Antonio Valencia Spurs vs Man Utd 13 Man Utd MF 9.09 11 1 84
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Stoke 09 Man Utd FW 0.00 12 0 90
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd vs Spurs 20 Man Utd MF 7.69 13 1 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Spurs 20 Man Utd FW 20.00 15 3 90

United unsurprisngly rank in the bottom five teams in terms of crossing accuracy in the Premier League this season, completing 20 per cent of their attempts in total. Rivals Manchester City top the charts on 27 per cent, having made more successful crosses with less attempts.

TeamCrossing Accuracy %Total CrossAccurate CrossGames
Manchester City 27.39 533 146 23
Manchester United 20.31 635 129 24

As for Mata, well there are signs the weekend was a one-off, for balanced on his games for United and Chelsea this season he has a better record than all but two players of his new side:

PlayerTeamPosCrossing Accuracy %Total CrossAccurate CrossAppsMins
Ryan Giggs Man Utd MF 47.62 21 10 10 473
Chris Smalling Man Utd DF 41.18 17 7 17 1,218
Juan Mata Man Utd MF 28.41 88 25 15 1,009
Nani Man Utd MF 24.24 33 8 8 427
Patrice Evra Man Utd DF 20.93 86 18 23 2,010
Ashley Young Man Utd MF 20.34 59 12 13 663
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 20.16 129 26 19 1,576
Rafael Man Utd DF 19.35 31 6 12 902
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 18.48 92 17 20 1,503
Robin van Persie Man Utd FW 17.50 40 7 13 1,053
Shinji Kagawa Man Utd MF 16.67 12 2 9 588
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 16.00 50 8 17 1,053

With two assists in two games, there's plenty for United fans to be positive about regarding their new addition. He even records more key passes in two games (7) than Marouane Fellaini has in eight matches - just one.

However with Moyes' side struggling for accurate crosses in general all season long, it's natural for fans to hope Mata helps solve that problem, rather than having his own game brought down as part of a general malaise.

image: © John Lord

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