It’s voting time for the PFA & Football Writer’s Player of the Year awards. With all the talk surrounding Gareth Bale, Robin Van Persie & the controversial Luis Suarez, are we forgetting about other potential candidates, with voting being so early before the season’s end?
Juan Mata has arguably been Chelsea’s outstanding player of the 2012/13 season, with 50 appearances in all competitions and 18 goals to show for it so far, all from midfield positions. Mata’s versatility means he can play virtually anywhere in the midfield and forward positions, with his speed and quick thinking an exceptional asset to his and Chelsea’s game play.
Domestically, Chelsea have struggled in the mid to latter stages of the season, after an outstanding start to their season. Managerial changes and other controversies around the club have not helped a squad seriously lacking depth and experience, not to mention lack of goal scoring from a £50 million striker. But despite these flaws in the season, two players have shone through the haze; an out of contract Frank Lampard and Spanish wizard Mata.
It is not just Mata’s excellent goal return that has impressed, he also has 16 assist to his name, 10 of which have come in the Premier League. In 27 league games he has been directly involved in 20 goals, not bad for the 5ft 8in midfielder competing with summer acquisitions Eden Hazard & Oscar, bought for a combined fee of £54 million, as well as Chelsea’s 2nd top scorer of all time, Frank Lampard.
Whilst Hazard & Oscar’s form have dipped and peaked at various points in the season, Mata has been the most consistent player in a Chelsea shirt. Though Chelsea are out of the Premier League title race and Champions League, if Juan Mata can spearhead their quest for FA Cup & Europa League glory, adding a few more goals & assists along the way, he will surely be talked of in the same breath as Bale,Van Persie & Suarez, in England at least.