Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Record signing? No Mata...

Six minutes was all it took for Juan Mata to make an impact with his new club, a cross-field pass perfectly picking out Patrice Evra and a matter of seconds later, the net was rippling. If this is a sign of things to come, then United fans better get excited.

Sealed with club record £37.1m from rivals Chelsea, Mata has arrived with arguably a massive weight on his shoulders and the hopes of Manchester United fans across the globe that he can turn their fortunes around. But no pressure was evident, as Mata would float around the pitch, popping up everywhere. Within minutes he was pinging passes across the field, much back to the days when he was a regular in the Chelsea XI. I still find it astonishing that Chelsea and Mourinho were willing to leave Mata out of the starting line-up and then go on to sell him, but it has worked fantastically in United's favour.

Not one player can turn a club's season around and for Moyes and his players, there is plenty of work to do. But United can make a good stab of it, particularly if strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie stay fit; the latter getting on the score-sheet after only six minutes into his return tonight. At times against a plucky Cardiff side, led by former United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, they would concede possession easily and were chasing the game. I am yet to be really convince by Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling - are they really the future of the English side? Manchester United did play okay - comfortable more than anything - but if they lose possession against a better side in the future, they will be punished. They certainly need to improve.

But for now, Mata's arrival has injected a much-needed buzz to Old Trafford. It's a big signal of intent from David Moyes, to say to their rivals 'listen, don't forget about us.' Mata will go on to be a Manchester United great, his creativity and vision is what they need in what is a side this campaign that is lacking any real conviction. It may be too late to save their season and a Champions League spot now, but the potential is there for beyond - and all that remains to be seen is whether Chelsea have made a big mistake letting their two-time Player of the Year slip from their grasp.

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