We want the old Juan Mata back.
The Premier League 2012/13 season was a strange point in time.
Joe Hart won the Golden Glove, Man United drew 5-5 with West Brom and Wigan qualified for the Europa League. Must we continue?
One additional detail you’ve perhaps forgotten about that particular season is that Mata went on an absolute madness™.
The Chelsea man, who was entering his second season at Stamford Bridge, topped his stats from what was an impressive debut season by an outrageous amount.
Today he’s a shadow of his former self…
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Back in good old 2012/13, Mata was well on his way to becoming one of Europe’s best playmakers.
The diminutive Spaniard was carrying what was at the time an underwhelming Chelsea side.
Yes, they might have forked out for Eden Hazard in the summer, but the Blues were fronted by a questionable duo of Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.
Mata took it upon himself to guide Chelsea through what was a period of transition. The club had just dismissed Roberto Di Matteo in favour of Rafa Benitez.
Scoring 19 goals and chipping in with 34 assists in all competitions, the former Valencia man was playing out of his skin.
11 of his goals came in the good old Barclays, with 17 assists also coming on these shores.
Mata’s performances earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Season, as well as a spot on the shortlist for Player of the Year.
He was unlucky to miss out on the top award, with Spurs’ Gareth Bale snapping it up instead.
The Welshman won it rather fraudulently, if you ask me.
Is it too late for a recount?
The unbelievable form of the No10 helped the Blues to lift the Europa League at the end of the campaign.
Mata was effectively the reason that Chelsea fans ended up warming to Benitez, a man who they had treated so harshly upon his arrival.
It’s a well known fact that he’s the nicest man in football.
It’s no coincidence that the Spaniard’s demise has come as Jose Mourinho proceeds to go off-the-boil once again.
Mata can’t seem to secure himself a regular spot in the side at United. It’s about time he moved elsewhere.
The 30-year-old is approaching a stage where he needs opportunities to play before it’s too late. Opportunities that he will seldom get at Old Trafford.
His international career has suffered too. Just when it had looked as though he was to be the future of the Spanish national team, he’s now not featured since 2016.
Mata’s quality is undoubted and his antics in 2012/13 are all the proof you need that there’s a top player waiting to reemerge.
Give us back the old Mata, please.
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