With the World Cup just around the corner, Spain’s elite players will be on tenterhooks as they await the news of Vicente Del Bosque’s 23-man squad.
Arguably the most problematic area for Vicente Del Bosque is Spain’s midfield, as La Roja boast an embarrassment of riches in the middle third of the pitch.
Barcelona’s trio of Fabregas, Xavi and Sergio Busquets are obvious choices, along with Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso and Bayern Munich duo Javi Martinez and Thiago.
Those players, however, are all central midfielders. As for wingers, Barcelona duo Pedro and Tello are obvious candidates, along with Manchester City’s lightning-quick Jesus Navas.
That, therefore, leaves the key position of attacking midfielders and playmakers up for grabs. Andres Iniesta and Koke will undoubtedly be on the plane to Brazil. But what about Premier League-based stars David Silva, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla?
In a recent poll conducted by the Spanish paper AS, the Spanish public were handed the difficult decision of naming their preferred 23-man squad.
The results regarding the midfield playmakers is naturally intriguing. Manchester City’s David Silva received 5,502 votes, meaning he made the cut in the public’s eyes. Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (2,220) and Man United’s £37m man Juan Mata (2,384), however, failed to make it.
Has David Silva been much better than Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla this season? Opta Stats reveals all.
|Team||Pos||Total Att Assist / apps||Goals / apps||Won Contest / apps||Was Fouled / apps||Accurate Pass / apps||Accurate Through Ball / apps||Ball Recovery / apps||Dispossessed / apps||Apps||Mins|
|David Silva||Man City||MF||3.32||0.28||1.12||1.56||60.28||0.60||4.60||1.88||25||2,021|
|Juan Mata||Man Utd||MF||2.30||0.19||0.85||1.48||44.30||0.30||4.81||2.07||27||1,975|
According to the stats, Manchester City’s David Silva comes out favourably in the majority of the categories.
The Citizen’s star has scored more goals on average, passed with a higher success rate, played more accurate through balls and has created the most chances for his teammates throughout the season.
Around the box, David Silva also appears to draw more free-kicks than his competitors, a stat which may interest Del Bosque given Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos’ threat in the air.
In an attacking sense, he beats Manchester United’s Juan Mata quite favourably.
Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla has proven the best dribbler of the three, successfully completing on average 1.58 per game. The former Malaga man also appears the most hardworking, helping the Gunners recover the ball on average six times per game.
This is a common trait in the Spanish set-up, though in an attacking sense, his goals and assists may hinder his chances of getting the nod.
Manchester United’s January transfer window signing Juan Mata has had a frustrating campaign by all accounts. The 26-year-old has rarely played in his preferred number 10 role for the Red Devils since making his move, and the statistics back that up.
He comes out in bottom place in the passing stats, and he is dispossessed on average more times than Silva and Cazorla.
In an attacking sense, Juan Mata has improved for Man United in recent weeks, though it hasn’t been enough to get close to the success that David Silva has attained throughout the season.
It would be a travesty to see players of such quality as Juan Mata, David Silva or Santi Cazorla missing out on the world’s biggest stage. But, with Spain currently in the midst of a golden generation, the likelihood is that it is going to become a reality over the next week or so.