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Jamie Carragher is Wrong, David Silva is Not ‘Two or Three Levels Above’ Juan Mata


Juan Mata has rather surprisingly split opinion since his January transfer to Manchester United for what was then a club record £37.1million and this week former Liverpool defender turned Sky Sports pundit, Jamie Carragher, has labelled Manchester City’s David Silva ‘two or three levels above’ Mata.

I for one feel this is harsh and simply cannot agree. Mata has spectacular footballing ability, the likes of which Sir Alex Ferguson had hoped would come from Shinji Kagawa had the Japanese international been able to adapt physically to the Premier League. I put it to you that it is only due to the disastrous nature of the David Moyes era that Mata is no longer rated as highly as he was during his Chelsea career.

Mata is both a World Cup and a Champions League winner and has produced numerous moments of sheer quality in the Premier League. His time at Chelsea will be looked upon favourably due to the success the team had with him in a key position. Especially in his last full season at Stamford Bridge, Mata was buoyed by the arrival of fellow countryman Rafael Benitez and was voted the supporters’ player of the season.

Mata was widely considered one of the best players in the Premier League, along with David Silva however that is when his Chelsea career began to unravel. Almost overnight the former Valencia playmaker had gone from Chelsea’s most important player to an individual whom Jose Mourinho didn’t want.

Both parties gave each other six months until the January transfer window and when it became clear the situation was unlikely to improve, United made their move.

Realistically it was never a move which would save United from their spiralling fortunes on the pitch under Moyes but it vastly improved the quality in the attacking third within the squad. If we fast forward another six or seven months into the future, the look of United’s front-line, with Mata included, is as good as anyone’s in the English top-flight.

However, somehow Mata is not rated as highly as he was just twelve months before. Of course you have to take into account his on pitch performances. Whilst he was United’s standout performer at the back end of the 2013-14 campaign, despite being played pitifully out of position, the quality of his Chelsea days was not present.

Perhaps it still isn’t, but with Mata remaining an immensely gifted player, as he showed in yesterday’s victory over Everton, it is very harsh to label him so far behind City’s playmaker.

In fairness to Silva, he is an extraordinary talent, many of the City supporters I speak to go as far to say he is the best the club has ever had, but everything in his game besides an extra turn of pace can also be found in that of Spanish compatriot Mata.

Silva is in fantastic form, and has been for the past 18 months. He is part of an exceptional team who are rightly champions of England, however it is harsh to say he is so far ahead of Mata.

Mata has yet to be given a fair run in his favoured position during a settled period at United although Wayne Rooney’s current suspension for violent conduct could pave the way for this to occur.

Mata has a wonderful first touch and is able to control the ball like few others. United supporters haven’t seen a player with such technical ability since Dimitar Berbatov.

It is understandable that people will rate Silva as a better player than Mata and in a lot of ways it is difficult to disagree yet there is not much between the pair. Both are the two best playmakers of that ilk in England and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

It is always a danger to write off a world-class footballer and when Mata strings a run of performances together, I’m sure people will begin to see the exceptionally gifted Spaniard who helped guide Chelsea to a Champions League and Europa League double in consecutive seasons.

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  1. mathew ridyard

    October 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Strange nobody mentions goalscroing in this discussion. Mata is a better goal scorer than Silva. Also strange that nobody is mentioning Santi Cazorla, who was also part of the Carragher article.

    Cazorla is also a better goal scorer than Silva.

    Silva, doesn’t go missing in games as was argued in this forum, and he is a fantastic player, who very very very rarely gets injured – because nobody gets close enough to do him damage!


    • Why?

      October 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Mata and Cazola play differnt positions to silva Silva on the wide midfield areas or drifting across midfield as a play maker his ability to keep the ball is unrea also, he’s not a number 10 so less goals will be the case

  2. Jake

    October 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Silva is head and shoulders above Mata and by some distance.
    Although Fabregas is the best #10 in the league IMO Silva is right behind. I consider Fab a #10 who can also play a deeper lying midfield role.
    I’d say the best players in the league so far have been Fabregas Silva, and Di Maria in that order.

  3. Ziggy

    October 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Mata is a great no 10. Best in the prem but big clubs keep him on the bench or play him wide etc. Hope united doesn’t do something stupid and sell him like Chelsea. Good attitude too for putting up with all the BS!

  4. eltricolor2014

    October 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Sorry, hate to burst everyone’s bubble but Silva is not the best player in the PL. Also, didn’t Spain get run out of Brasil in the group stage? The reason Silva does not get a mention as best player is because he only plays for 45 mins and disappears for long periods of the game. Is Mata any better? He may be if LVG decides to play him but at this point he plays when Rooney is not available. United have too many # 10’s and what they really need is a DMF.

    • Why?

      October 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Elricolor, you are talking complete rubbish. I have never seen Silva only play well for 45 minute then disapear. He is easily much better than Mata and he cost over £13m lESS! So in reality youve not burst any bubbles so don’t worry yourself!

  5. Jeremy Poynton

    October 7, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Rated so highly by Mourinho he sold him in no time at all eh?

  6. Flyvanescence

    October 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Youre off base here Chris. Mata is nowhere near Silva’s level.

    Mata can only play in the hole behind the striker(s). That is why he was frozen out by Mourinho. He preferred Oscar in that position and Mata could not play wide (or even wide-ish). Silva can play and has played all over the place: in the hole, out wide in a flat midfield 4 or in a 4-2-3-1, up front, or even in central midfield. You dont hear whining of Silva being played out of position because he still performs anyway, unlike the constant cries about Mata last season.

    Mata played no part in either Spain’s World Cup or European Championship runs (coming on in garbage time in the final isnt playing a part). Silva was a contributor to the WC and an integral part of the Euros, starting every game playing UP FRONT.

    Silva’s vision of the pitch is unrivaled in the Premiership (barring maybe newcomer Fabregas). He is all over the plance and makes every player better. For proof, look at how ineffective going forward Pablo Zabaleta and James Milner are for their national teams. Aguero wasnt exactly banging in the goals at the World Cup either, and Nasri did not even make the France team (nor did his performances for France warrant a place).

    Mata only makes the strikers better.

    Carragher is one of the top analysts in the game, and he is spot on here.

    He also said Cazorla was (like Mata) nowhere near Silva’s level. For what it’s worth, Cazorla has far more Spain caps than Mata, and guess who has a good deal more than both?

    Sorry guys, i just pulled a Dust. At least i punctuated.

    • HeavyRiffs

      October 7, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Spot on.

    • brn442

      October 7, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Mata was “frozen out” by Mourinho partly because he could/would not defend.

      Silva was clearly the best player in the Premier League two years ago. Whilst his role at city has been hampered by injuries and the arrival of Aguero, he’s off to a great start this season. He’s clearly heads and shoulders above Mata, who has been relatively under-whelming since arriving at Old Trafford.

  7. jac

    October 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Merlin is at least 4 levels above Mata who wont even make the first eleven when Shrek is back from suspension. The special one was right to sell a player who just does not work hard enough for the team. Expect him to return to Spain at seasons end.

  8. Smokey Bacon

    October 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Unfortunately Mata looks like he will be permanently in Di Maria’s shadow as far as being United’s main playmaker. Plus LVG has given himself a problem by making Rooney captain as he can’t really drop him for Mata. Either Mata accepts a bit part role or he will be gone next summer.

  9. Trevor

    October 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I agree, he isn’t 2 or 3 levels above Mata, he’s about 4 or 5 levels above.

    Silva is the most under rated player in the Prem. Be a travesty if he doesn’t win the player of the season.

    • Aaron

      October 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      I don’t know a single person who thinks Silva is anything less than brilliant. Underrated? I don’t think so.

  10. Neil Crosby

    October 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    It’s all about opinions. Mata clearly wasn’t rated highly by Mourinho. It also seems he won’t be first pick at United when everyone is fit.

    Right now Silva is the best footballer in England and in the top four in Europe.

    • Chris Winterburn (Author)

      October 7, 2014 at 6:59 am

      On current form, I have to agree with you on that. He and Di Maria are head and shoulders above with Hazard closely behind. Still I feel its an exaggeration to suggest Mata is so far behind Silva.

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