The statistic that reveals Juan Mata as Manchester United's silent hero

Juan Mata’s Manchester United career looked in serious doubt a matter of weeks ago. However, his performances in the early stages of the 2016/17 campaign suggests he still has plenty of unfinished business at Old Trafford.

After scoring yet another goal in his side’s 4-1 victory over Leicester this weekend, the Spaniard sent yet another message to those in charge at the club, but should do they really need any further evidence of his value?

Mata has been a silent hero for the Red Devils in recent seasons, and, just like the old cliche, it is only when you are about to lose him that you truly begin to appreciate this brilliance. His creative output alone, suggests how important he is to the Red Devils…

Indeed, the 28-year-old has contributed to an incredible 37 goals since his move from Stamford Bridge two seasons ago, be it through hitting the back of the net himself (23 successful strikes) or setting up a team-mate (14 assists).

For context, that is 20 more than any other Manchester United midfielder throughout the same period.

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He has started four of the Red Devils’ six Premier League fixtures already this term, playing a central role in the club’s recent victory over champions Leicester City – in which he ended a move involving all 10 of the club’s outfield players, to score once, before setting up another.

His influence, be it from the right-flank or through the middle, has been absolutely pivotal in the limited success that the club have experienced in recent times, and as a consequence, he has given Mourinho little choice but to include him in his starting 11 for the foreseeable future.

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