Manchester United’s £37m January transfer window signing hasn’t had the best of starts to life at his new club, but United supporters will be hoping his performance over Aston Villa in his favoured number 10 role are signs of things to come.
The situation regarding Juan Mata is quite simple – his best position and one where he can do the most damage is behind the striker in the number 10 role.
As a result of Robin Van Persie’s injury, Moyes opted for the same tactics used during the comfortable victory at West Ham United with Wayne Rooney to start as the lone striker with Juan Mata in behind and Shinji Kagawa supporting on the left.
The system used on Saturday clearly favoured all three players as they each impressed during Manchester United’s emphatic 4-1 victory over Aston Villa.
Wayne Rooney grabbed two goals, Shinji Kagawa contributed with an assist but arguably more importantly for David Moyes was Juan Mata’s goal which broke his Manchester United duck.
The 25-year-old was instrumental throughout, and spoke to MUTV after the game to express his joy in his favoured role:
He said: “To be honest, I really enjoyed today in the first half and in the second half.”
“We had some spaces to play between the lines between their midfield and defence and I really like to play with him [Rooney] because he’s a top striker and he does everything upfront.”
It isn’t a coincidence that Juan Mata’s best performance this season coincides with him playing in his favoured number 10 role. Despite being an excellent footballer, he is far less of a threat out wide.
David Moyes must play him in the centre – but where does this leave Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney?
The England international’s form as the lone striker against West Ham United and Aston Villa proves he has goals in him, and his link up play with Mata in the centre is excellent.
As for Robin Van Persie, as good as he is, perhaps he is the perfect recipe for David Moyes to make a much-needed controversial decision and remove him from the side so that Juan Mata can be accomodated in his best role.