Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla are both Spanish and both midfielders. Both have bags of creative ability and a winning mentality and both have extremely similar playing styles. So what could the main difference between these two fantastic footballers really be?
The difference between the two and their performance levels is how much their current clubs rely on them, therefore how they’re used by their current clubs.
Many football fans and bookmakers have anticipated Juan Mata possibly leaving Chelsea this summer, aided by the fact he hasn’t played for Chelsea so far this season. However, despite what many think, Mata not playing for Chelsea should not excite football fans who think he will leave as much as it has.
Chelsea had great strength in depth before the current transfer window especially in their midfield, and have strengthened this position further this summer with the signings of Marco Van Ginkel, André Schürrle, Willian, and Christian Atsu however he has been loaned to Vitesse Arnhem. They have been able to not play Mata, who was easily their best player last season, and still gain positive results in all of their games, including a 0-0 draw at the home of the Champions. They can afford to leave him on the bench or out of the squad altogether, as they have many more creative players who can contribute just as well.
Arsenal on the other hand are not as gifted in midfield. Santi Cazorla is usually heavily involved in many Arsenal goals, and without him there is much less creativity in the middle of the park. Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby have been injured more than they have played in recent seasons, and when they don’t play Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are Arsenal’s main source of midfield creativity, however looking beyond them they are restricted in midfield!
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a squad lacking depth will have to play its key players on a regular basis. Yes, they’re professional footballers and should be fit enough to play week in week out, but footballers are more likely to pick up injuries the more games they play, and playing for a club competing on four fronts means a minimum of 46 games per season without internationals! This could be a key reason as to why Arsenal suffer so many injuries throughout the season, because they probably have the weakest squad compared to their Premiership rivals!
Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata have both played endless amounts of football in recent seasons without having a real break. Euro 2012, then a full season with their clubs, this summer played in the Confederations Cup, now back for another full season with their clubs, and next summer the World Cup, providing they make the Spanish squad. Chelsea have shown already this season they have no problem with rotating Juan Mata, giving him a much needed rest and allowing him to recover for the rest of the season. However Arsenal cannot afford to continue playing Santi Cazorla week in week out and expect the same high level performances from him.
I’m sure the staff at Arsenal, especially Arsene Wenger knows what they’re doing, but I’m also sure I’m not the only fan thinking and worrying about this!