After recent performances it was inconceivable to think the substitutions made by a mister Rafa Benitez would ever be commended by anyone but he certainly seemed to get it right this weekend when his side fought back from 2-0 down to secure a Stamford Bridge replay with Manchester United.
But while the performances of Eden Hazard and Ramires gained their obvious notoriety it was Juan Mata who once again stole the show for Chelsea. His ability to find and create space is up there with some of the very best and on this occasion his performances earned him a deserved man-of-the-match accolade.
The Spaniard almost won them the game with his superb touch and turn in the box leaving him one-on-one with his compatriot David De Gea. With the ball on his left foot there was inevitability to the proceedings as everyone expected to see the net bulge. However despite the ridiculous questioning by ITV’s Gabriel Clarke who asked Mata if he should have done better it was a magnificent Schmeichel-esque save by De Gea that denied Mata all the Old Trafford glory.
However it appears his performance caught the eye of one young footballer with a promising future. In recent weeks Arsenal’s teenage striker Chuba Akpom has been in brilliant form for the clubs youth teams and the England youth international took a moment to express his glee at the performance of Mata via Twitter:
Juan Mata wow— Chuba Akpom (@cakpom9) March 10, 2013
Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) February 21, 2013
Now if only some of the Arsenal players were playing well enough to inspire their youngsters.
What did you make of Juan Mata’s performance?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald