Juan Mata scored his sixth goal from a free-kick in his four seasons at the Premier League. His 40% success rate has made him the best set piece taker of the tournament.
Juan Mata is a player you can count on his reliability to decide a match when everything seems lost and if it’s from a free-kick even better.
The Spanish international has an impeccable score card taking free-kicks. Of the 15 free-kicks that have taken since the 2012-13 season in Premier League, six of them have ended up in the back of the net. That means 40% of the free-kicks end in goal.
The figures improve when taking into account the shots on goal. Hence the success rate goes up by 54% (6 goals from 11 shots). These numbers have made Juan Mata the best free-kick taker in the Premier League in recent years.
From all the abilities the Asturian has, we must add the leadership he is taken both on and off the pitch. It is not being an easy season for Manchester United hit by injuries. However, Mata is taking the responsibility of the team game after game. So far, Mata has already scored 8 goals and as many assists in the 41 games he has played in all competitions.
However, perhaps the element to consider is that Louis van Gaal gave Juan the captaincy in the absence of Rooney and Carrick. In Tuesday’s game against Watford, United´s average age was about 23 years. In that regard, the Dutch coach handed over the captain’s armband to Juan Mata, who is always there when Manchester needs him. He brought work, sacrifice and leadership. A night to remember that ended with a magical free-kick that has lifted the Red Devils up in Champions League places.