Manchester United take on Chelsea on Sunday in a huge match for both sides. The Blues will know they can maintain their outstanding start to the campaign if they win, while Louis van Gaal’s side can not only dent the visitors’ title hopes but stake a claim for some success of their own with a victory.
While most of the attention – in terms of United players – will be on Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie, there is another star who could yet be the game-changer for the hosts.
It is fair to say Juan Mata has not had the best of times since his £37.1million move from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford back in January.
He has shown glimpses of his talent, but the Spanish international has failed to become the undisputed number 10 and serial influencer many expected him to be.
But with Wayne Rooney absent against Chelsea, Mata has another chance to show what he can do playing in behind Falcao and van Persie and he needs no better motivation to perform than to prove to his former boss and former fans just what a special talent he remains.
If Mata starts – and van Gaal would be smart to pick him against his old club – the Spaniard would revel in getting one over his ex-boss, in pulling the strings to ensure United’s strikers get the chances they need and perhaps even continuing his own decent scoring record since moving on.
There will be a whole host of talented players taking to the field on Sunday, but few have as much motivation to perform as Mata, and for that reason he could prove to be the star of the show.