Reading through a recent post published on EPL Index titled “Premier League 2011/12 – Top Creators & Their Positions” the top 2 chance creators last season were David Silva and Juan Mata for Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. Indeed, over the course of Euro 2012, one talking point was Spain’s consistent use of 6 midfielders. Juan Mata was often resigned to the bench (only appearing for the last 5 minutes or so of the final, scoring Spain’s 88th minute fourth goal) and David Silva, who scored twice in the competition and was a regular in the Spanish starting XI.
This leads me onto the theme for this article:
David Silva Vs Juan Mata
How do their Premier League statistics compare? Was Del Bosque wrong to ignore Juan Mata? How similar are they as players? What should we expect from them in 2012/2013?
On the surface, it’s already a very interesting comparison:
- They’re both Spanish internationals.
- They can both play as attacking midfielders, left or right wingers, or in a ‘centre forward’ role, behind a sole striker.
- They’re both set piece specialists, regularly taking their clubs’ corners and free kicks.
- They’re both predominantly left-footed.
Here is an out-and-out comparison of their key statistics, pulled from the EPLIndex Opta Stats Centre (Subscribe Now!) for last season’s Premier League:
The stats highlighted in yellow show it’s not just their personal attributes that are remarkably similar! –
- Goals? Both scored 6
- Total shots? Both on 55.
- Chance Conversion? Both 11%.
- Goal Assists (Set Plays)? Both on 6.
Maybe spookily of all:
- Chance Creation (Open Play Non-Assists): Silva 77 / Mata 63
- Chance Creation (Set-play Non-Assists): Silva 12 / Mata 26
- Total Chance Creation (Non-Assists): Silva 89 / Mata 89
Who they play for has had an arguably major impact on one stat:
- Mata sent in 105 more crosses than David Silva (236 vs. 131).
Drogba’s departure to China means Torres is now Chelsea’s main focal point of attack, so it’ll be interesting to see how Juan Mata adapts his game to Di Matteo’s tactics in 2012/2013. With Eden Hazard arriving, I think everyone expects to see Mata playing a more attacking central role, where he can find space, dictate play and look for goal or a killer through ball. A role very similar to how David Silva played at Manchester City last season.
Based on 2011/2012, there are some telling statistics that edge the argument towards David Silva, especially when it comes to keeping possession and helping the team out with defensive attributes:
- Silva made more 50-50 tackles on the ground (273 vs. 205).
- Silva made more total accurate passes (1822 vs. 1375).
- Silva had a higher pass completion (83.65% vs. 78.84%).
However, if we factor in the following:
- Juan Mata is 24 years-old / David Silva is 26 years-old.
- David Silva played more minutes last season (2817 vs. 2531) (Editors Note: This is the key – Juan Mata played almost 300 less minutes but matched David Silva on overall stats meaning his average is actually better than Silva’s).
- David Silva has 1 more year experience of the English Premier League.
This extra season could count for an awful lot.
A like-for-like comparison of Silva/Mata’s first seasons in the English Premier League paints an interesting picture too, with Mata’s stats more than holding their own (especially from an attacking perspective), when compared to David Silva’s first EPL season in 2010/2011.
So David Silva Vs Juan Mata? It’s a tough call and hard to pick between the 2 players.
But, on the basis of these stats, 2012/2013 will be Juan Mata’s season to really outshine David Silva in the Premier League.