Mata v Kagawa: Comparing the two players' starts to the season

Shinji Kagawa with Nuri Sahin celebrating Bundesliga title

How does Manchester United's Juan Mata compare with Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa so far this season?

Recent comments from former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have suggested that Shinji Kagawa lost confidence at Old Trafford when Juan Mata arrived.

The two players were competing to be first-choice number 10 under former boss David Moyes, and considering the money United spent on the Spaniard, it was always going to be Mata.

But how has the United play-maker started the season when compared with Kagawa, who is now back at Borussia Dortmund?

As you can see from the stats below, Mata has scored two goals so far compared with Kagawa's one strike since his return to Germany, while both players have a single assist each.

Mata also outperforms his former teammate when it comes to passing accuracy, with the Spaniard's 92.8 per cent considerably higher than Kagawa's 84.5 per cent.  

And yet those stats aside, it is the Dortmund man who currently has the upper hand.

  GoalsGoal AssistKey Passes per gameShots per gamePassing AccuracyDribbles per gameTackles per gameInterceptions per gameAppsMins
Juan Mata 2 1 1.17 0.83 92.28% 0.50 0.33 0.33 6 438
Shinji Kagawa  1  1  1.7  2  84.5%  1.8  0.8  0.6  6  431

Kagawa averages more key passes per game, as he does shots, dribbles, tackles and interceptions.  In short, he is performing at a higher level than Mata, at least for now; and much of that could be down to the fact that the United player has found himself spending more time on the bench recently, with Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria the club's new star attractions.

Many United fans still feel that Kagawa simply was not given the regular run in the side he needed to show what he could do, while he was often played in an unnatural position, while others feel that when he did get on the pitch he flattered to deceive.

But whatever you think of Kagawa's time at United, he is currently performing slightly better than Mata, and when you consider Ferguson's recent comments, that is somewhat telling.

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