|Mata: A Player with Vision and Execution|
"I happen to think that [Juan] Mata is a very special player," says Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter. From what we have seen of the little midfield player in Chelsea color, we can only assume that Mata's great vision to see passes in all kinds of scenarios is what Hunter has had in mind when he makes that comment. However, vision alone does not make a player special: you have to have the accurate execution to go along with it. Mata displayed both in the build-up to Chelsea's first goal against Everton. Let's do some photo-analysis.
|Picture 1. Mata (blue) Finds Cole (yellow) with A Delicious Pass|
In my Opposition Scout Report on Everton, I have pointed out that Everton defends in numbers but allows time and space to opposition outside their 18-yard box. As you can see in Picture 1, there were nine Everton players behind the ball as Juan Mata (blue) prepares to make a pass to Ashley Cole (yellow) on Chelsea's left. But they were slow in closing the Spaniard down. Mata takes advantage of this and lob a cute ball over the Everton defense for Cole to run onto. One pass takes care of nine defenders. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge (red) begins his run at the back post.
|Picture 2. Cole (yellow) Crosses for Sturridge (red)|
Cole (yellow), then, crosses, intentionally or unintentionally, into the path of oncoming Sturridge (red) who, at this point, has beaten Leighton Baines.
|Picture 3. Sturridge Scores|
Then, it was just a simple nod in for Sturridge. Goal!!!
When this goal is put into record books, Cole will get the assist and Sturridge the goal. But let us remember that this goal was made possible by the vision and execution of Juan Mata who, with one pass, unlocked Everton's nine-men defense.