Manchester United had a well-fought FA Cup replay on Wednesday, hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
The game ended in a 1-0 win to the Red Devils, who saw several great opportunities either denied or gone in vain, only for Juan Mata to make the most out of an Anthony Martial pass in the second half and ensure United’s progression with his goal.
Mata’s performance was certainly a standout one as the Spaniard was impactful throughout the game, aiding creativity and making life tough for the Wolves backline. This spurt of good form is certainly a welcome one for the veteran midfielder and comes at an interesting time.
Ever since Manchester United have been linked to acquiring Bruno Fernandes this winter window, Mata seems to have undergone a transformation.
The former Chelsea star has now been involved in 3 goals in his last 2 appearances after the possibility that Fernandes could become a Red Devil started gathering steam.
Twitter has been reacting to the same for quite a while now, postulating that perhaps the assurance that even an appearance, let alone a starting spot, will be hard for the likes of Mata to muster if Fernandes arrives, is probably a powerful motivating factor producing such incredible midfield performances.
Bruno Fernandes turning up to Carrington tomorrow after Woodward pulls out of the deal because Mata’s in form:
— Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan) January 15, 2020
Juan Mata turning back into prime 2012/13 El Mago amidst Bruno Fernandes speculation you absolutely love to see it
— Josh (@UtdJL) January 15, 2020
Juan Mata is really trying his best to stop this Bruno Fernandes deal from happening. 2 assists against Norwich now a goal tonight against Wolves. #mufc
— Simply Utd (@SimplyUtd) January 15, 2020
Juan Mata, before and after Bruno Fernandes link. pic.twitter.com/ibAJ4XUJo0
— Nemanja Vidić (@TheNemanjaVidic) January 16, 2020
Having said that, the issue with Mata has always been a lack of consistency. If he can maintain this ethos of creativity in the long run, United would be delighted to have him in the squad.
In that scenario, even acquiring Fernandes would not be a one-man-takes-it-all position as someone like Mata could easily be the fall-back option in the event of an injury or poor form.
Considering that Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have been far from impressive at the spot, this seems like the right direction for the club to be heading in.