Man United cruised to a convincing thumping of Norwich City on Saturday, defeating the Canaries 4-0 at Old Trafford.
A brace from Marcus Rashford set the tone of the game, with Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood contributing to the scoreline as well.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be exceptionally pleased at avoiding another embarrassing rout against a lower-placed team and will be delighted at having executed a fairly decent display despite the numerous injuries at hand.
In fact, he will be particularly happy about the performances of one man, and the fans certainly love him.
Juan Mata was gifted a start for the home fixture and the Spaniard and proved the trust placed on him to be an adequate one with his display. The former Chelsea midfielder created two of three open-play goals of the night, both arriving from impeccable crosses.
Further still, he continued the creative pressure on the Norwich side by being fluid in his movement and unpredictable in his positioning which caused the Canaries heaps of trouble.
Twitter took notice of the display from the veteran and heaped praises upon him.
— Sarim Niazi (@sarim200228) January 11, 2020
His legs may be gone, but Mata is still our best playmaker in these types of games when teams sit this deep in a low block and just want to defend. By far our most clever and creative player to unlock the door. Fantastic assist for Rashford's goal. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/SIIvyUsadY
— UnitedReds (@UnitedRedscom) January 11, 2020
Two assists from Juan Mata? Bloke heard Fernandes was on the plane and ran it back to 2012.
— ً (@UtdHenry) January 11, 2020
A finished Mata is showing us how we desperately need that ball-magnet, creative presence between the lines. Add mobility & 1v1 ability to Mata & you have Sancho.
— Adroit Cadet (@Adroit_Cadet) January 11, 2020
Juan Mata today pic.twitter.com/SqGJS3lloj
— Ché (@UtdChe) January 11, 2020
Even as United remains shrouded amongst the rumors that Bruno Fernandes will join them this window, such a display shows what a decent no.10 is capable of achieving and what the likes of Jesse Lingard have utterly failed to achieve when deployed in the spot.
However, as some of the tweets highlighted, such a performance is more of an ode to how good a player Mata was in the past and simply cannot be maintained as an illusion that he can be Solskjaer’s go-to no.10 in the future.
For that role, the Norwegian must continue to barter with the higher-ups and get a world-class central attacking midfielder to Old Trafford, be it Bruno Fernandes or anyone else.