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FM14 Player Experiment - Juan Mata to Manchester United

An experiment to see how Juan Mata will fare in his time at Manchester United.

By on Feb 02, 2014   11098 views   2 comments
The FM Simulator - FM14 Player Experiment - Juan Mata to Manchester United
With the imminent arrival of Juan Mata from Chelsea FC to Manchester United, in a deal which will see the Spaniard move to Old Trafford for a fee of about 37M. Mata has barely featured under the new boss Jose Mourinho, despite being Chelsea’s Player of the Season during the 2012/13 campaign, where he was highly acclaimed as one of the best players in the Premier League. This has led to frustration, and worries that he might not feature in Spain’s World Cup squad in Brazil, a doubt that could so be real if Mata doesn’t get game time, especially with the overload of creative talent already in the Spanish team.

So, the big question is, how will Mata fair? Will be the saviour of United’s so far catastrophic season, producing performances similar to when he was at his prime at Chelsea? Or will he fail to live up to expectations, with rustiness and pressure contributing to a poor showing by him? We won’t know truly until the end of the season, but we can see how FM predicts Mata will do at the Red Devils. I will be holidaying 5 seasons, and looking closely at how not only he does as a player, but what he contributes to the team overall.



Season 1


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It is clear to see that Juan Mata had a very impressive season for United, contributing 13 goals and 10 assists in all competitions in 33 games, which has resulted in him having an increased value of £40M, the highest in the whole squad. Mata also got 10 Player of the Match awards, as well as the highest average rating for any United player.

Despite all the positives, Mata was forced to adapt to United’s formation, and played most of his games at left midfielder, rather than his preferred role as a central attacking midfielder. Also, he was unable to help United to any real success, with only a Capital One Cup Trophy to show for this season, as they finished in a decent 3rd place, and were knocked out the Champions League in the 1st Knockout Round by Napoli. They also changed managers, after sacking David Moyes for poor performances in the league, they hired former Juventus boss Antonio Conte.

World Cup Best Player -

Spain Win World Cup -

Internationally, Mata made a great contribution towards Spain, getting 5 goals in 6 games during the season, and was outstanding during the World Cup, not only winning the trophy after a win in the final against Argentina, but personally winning the Best Player of the Tournament and featuring in the Best 11, after scoring 5 goals. All in all, a very good personal campaign for Juan Mata, it will be interesting to see how he does as he goes into the prime of his life, and if he will be able to help Manchester United to better things for the coming year.

2nd season


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One of the weirdest seasons I have ever seen, especially domestically in the league, as well as for Mata personally. The Spaniard had to play lots of his games as a striker, first under Antonio Conte, then under Guus Hiddink, which is a position very unnatural to him. Despite this though, he still produced some good performances, getting 15 goals and 8 assists in all competitions. He also had a much decreased average rating and played fewer games in the league.

United as a whole had a terrible campaign, finishing in a dismal 7th place in a very topsy-turvy season, which saw Aston Villa and West Brom finishing in the top 4. Their poor fortunes continued through their short time in the Champions League where they were knocked out of the Champions League, coming last in what looks on paper, a fairly easy group. An FA shock exit to Doncaster didn’t help either, with again, their only success coming in the Capital One Cup, where they retained their title.

Internationally, Mata once again was in fine form, scoring 10 times in 13 games for Spain, as they look in pole position to qualify for the European Championship in 2016.

Hopefully, Mata has a better year next year, especially if he decides to stay at United. He should be able to lead what looks fairly impressive squad into the top places both in England, and also in the Europa League, where they will be looking for the winners medals. If he does leave however, it will be good to see the Spaniard play in his favoured position in the centre attacking midfield role, rather than out wide or up front.

Season 3


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Personally, this was probably the best season for Juan Mata, a fact which was heavily due to the fact that he was reunited with the man who brought him to the Premier League in the first place, Andre Villas- Boas. He played 34 games in the league, and an incredible 50 games in all competitions, in which time he scored 19 goals, and also got 21 assists, the highest in the league. He also topped the BPL in terms of average rating. He has also adapted to the left wing role well, and played the majority of his games in that position.

United as a whole benefited greatly from the arrival of Villas-Boas, who got them back on track, and started freshening up the squad to push for the title next year. They finished in a respectable 4th place this year, led by star striker Javier Hernandez. They also won the biggest trophy in 3 years, as they were crowned Europa League winners, beating the likes of Zenit, CSKA Moscow and Bayern Leverkusen on route to the title. They fared poorly in the domestic cups, but despite that, you can class this season as a success for the Red Devils, in comparison to last year.

5 goals in 8 appearances internationally, and helping Spain to finish top of their European Qualifying Group show how vital Juan Mata has become to both his club and national side. In France for the actual European Championship, Spain got to the Semi-Finals losing to Russia, as Mata was a substitute for the Best 11.

Despite the improvements in United’s form and the personal achievements, Juan Mata is considering his options, and is unhappy that he isn’t playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world. This fact could signal a move for the Spaniard as he moves into the end of his career.

Season 4


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Mata did stay at Manchester United, and prospered well, as he scored 19 goals and got 14 assists in all competitions. Also, he had fully converted to the Left Winger role, with that becoming his primary position for his club. His value is decreasing due to his age, but he still is the most valuable player in the United squad, as well as finishing with the top 5 average rating in the whole league for the 3rd time in his 4 year spell at the club.

Under Villas-Boas United have finally reached some stability, finishing 4th yet again, with Mata integral to this success. After getting past a not-so-easy group in the Champions League, they were knocked out by Paris Saint- Germain, after a shocking performance away from home where they lost 4-0. A tough draw against their biggest rivals in the Capital One Cup, led them to be knocked out in the 3rd round, but an easy draw allowed them to win the PA Cup, winning a final against Derby.

In our penultimate year of following Juan Mata’s career at Manchester United he had yet another successful year, where he managed to fit perfectly into Villas-Boas’ new system. It will be fascinating to see how if he can continue his great form into his 30’s, and maybe get back into the national frame, as he barely featured this season for Spain, only playing once as a substitute during the Confederations Cup, contributing to Spain’s downfall as they were unable to get past the group stages, losing to the likes of Iran.

Season 5


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Our last, but not least season of observing how Juan Mata fares at Manchester United is an intriguing one, as despite the fact he has entered his 30’s and is on the start of his decline, he is still the creative core of the club, as he maintains his great statistics, getting 21 assists and 10 goals. He also broke back into the international scene, making 7 appearances. He is also very happy playing his football at the left winger position, which he has become accustomed to over the years.

United as a club finished 4th yet again in the league, and seem to be playing well even without Mata, showing that they no longer rely on him to get good results, which was definitely the case during the past. They reached the furthest they have got in the Champions League, narrowly losing out the PSG on away goals. In the domestic cups they were fairly average as they only got to the early rounds in both.

World Cup Final -

In the World Cup, Mata helped Spain to yet another final, where they lost out to France 1-0. He made 5 appearances, but couldn’t get a goal or an assist. This was his first major international competition since joining United where he didn’t get a place in the Best 11.

In general, a fascinating look at how FM predicts Juan Mata’s career will pan out when he is at United. Whilst obviously not totally accurate, it is a fun experiment which shows to a certain extent how good of a player the Spaniard is, as he was carrying the team on his shoulders during some of their tougher seasons. He enjoyed great personal success, winning numerous awards and finishing high consistently on every list from assists to average rating. The only aspect Mata lacked in his career was to be playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world, as after his Champions League win with Chelsea, he didn’t receive as many trophies at club level as you expect of a player of his calibre, and was at times wasted as he was forced to adapt to playing in wider areas, despite the fact his strengths clearly laid in the centre of midfield.

All in all, a good way to start of the experiments, and if you enjoyed this and would like to read more of these, please leave a comment, as well as recommend me some other players, managers or team tests you would like to see me do in the future.


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