Jose Mourinho was wrong to let Juan Mata leave, according to the fantasy football website oulala.com.
The Chelsea manager let the popular Spaniard go to Manchester United in January 2014 for over £37 million, a then transfer record for the Red Devils, after he was usurped by the apparently more energetically Oscar as the side’s central play-maker. Statistics from the oulala.com, which takes its figured from Opta, show that in the time since the transfer the two-time Chelsea Player of Year has outperformed the Brazil international in almost every area.
Mata has both a better passing and shot accuracy overall -42.4% to 37.9% and 55.5% to 47.5%- and when the numbers are broken down on a game-by-game level, the case for keeping Mata over Oscar only increases. The Spaniard has a higher rate of assists since joining Manchester United- 8 to 7- and makes more key passes, passes leading to chance on goal, per game with 1.40 to 1.33.
In regard to dribbles, Mata leads the way again by beating his opponent 60.8% of the time compared to Oscar’s 32.5% success rate. He has also won more free-kicks for his team than Oscar after being fouled more often- 1.36 to 0.72 fouls per game.
Jose Mourinho came under significant criticism when the transfer went through, but although the statistics pitting player against player may favour the man he let go, the fact remains that Chelsea as a team have performed with far more consistency and have appeared to be far more of a cohesive football team than Manchester United since January 2014. Chelsea’s place in the Premier League- seven points clear with a handful of games remaining- is testament to that. Despite the relative form of both Mata and Oscar, both players have been outshone by Eden Hazard, who is on course to be named either PFA Player of the Year, the Football Writers’ Player of the Year, or both.
Juan Mata returns to Stamford Bridge this Saturday with his new team in a match that, with a win, Chelsea could all but secure their first Premier League title since 2010. Mata and Manchester United are currently in third position and almost assured of Champions League football next season. Their recent good form, which has included wins away at Liverpool and home against Manchester City, have raised hopes among supporters of an unlikely title victory, although that is a more realistic prospect next season.