I just want to make it clear that I had to do this SBC as a big United fan, but I'm going to try my best to be bias-free. I'm a divison 3 player so take that into consideration. In 25 matches played Mata has scored 19 and assisted 15. I used him as the middle CAM in a 4-2-3-1 with pacey players around him and I believe this is the best way to make use of him. I slapped a deadeye on him and oh man his passes are as clean as you'll like them. Finishing in the box is very reliable and his small structure allows him to move around the box wonderfully. His 3* weakfoot and med/med workrates are his biggest flaws though. I would not bother testing his right foot.
His speed stat is deceiving, he feels so quick on the attack.
His passing is world class, finds attackers on the run every single time.
Long shots are very solid and shot power feels great inside the box, will score near post everytime.
Even though he has currently only been out for 2 hours (current time of writing - 9:17 AM, NZT), he has been an absolute GOAT for me.
He has played 11 games in high end division 3, and has caused 6 rage quits. 6 RAGE QUITS!
This is mainly because of his really high dribbling stats, and his 4 star skills. He is quick, agile, and can pass. The only downside though is that he is quite weak (47 strength), and can get pushed off the ball easily by bulky players like Van Dijk, Pique, Nesta, etc.
However, due to his silky dribbling he can easily maneuver around these players. He can play lovely weighted balls straight to my strikers (Rashford, Aguero) and thus giving tons of assists. He can score too. With maestro, he has 87 long shots, but it honestly feels like 99 sometimes. He has scored 3 absolute belters from outside the box.
This Mata card is just such a good CAM. Definitely worth the coins, and definitely an end game player. (For me at least)
Passing - especially through balls
Long-range shooting - can shoot inside the box too, but doesn't tend to make runs into it
Pace - can last all game due to the 94 stamina, and is quick off the mark with 89 acceleration, but other players tend to catch up quick due to his 78 sprint speed. It doesn't MATA too much though, as he can release the ball well (see what I did there?)
End game player :)
Strength - can be an issue if you do hold-up play, but doesn't MATA too much due to his dribbling (sorry, I'll stop doing that)
Defending - doesn't MATA too much for his position (couldn't help myself)
As a United fan I really wanted to get this card, despite knowing there was a high chance I would be disappointed in the results as I had to sell some of my main players to afford him. However, I am very happy I did this and I highly recommend anyone who runs a majority PL/Spain team to do this as well, as there aren't many good CAM's for them in this price range. Even if you don't have a team like that, you could definitely build one around him. I like my CAM's to move a lot, find space and play my running Strikers/Wingers through on goal, and Mata epitomises this style. It doesn't require any physicality so I wouldn't consider the strength a weakness. Whilst doing the Icon Objectives I realised he can also be a very effective super sub as well.
Base stat ratings explanations:
Pace: 8/10 - The 89 acceleration really negates the lower sprint speed, especially with a hunter. Obviously this means he won't maintain the high speed, but unless you want to use him as a winger/striker, or someone who is constantly sprinting forwards, it won't matter.
Shooting: 9/10 - His shooting is very good, almost always finding the net if he gets the ball in the box. The shot power boost with hunter definitely plays it's part and almost always puts it in the corners.
Passing: 10/10 - Might honestly the best passer I've used in any FIFA. 99% of the time they have pinpoint accuracy, and are perfectly weighted. The through balls to the runners couldn't be executed better despite not using a passing chem style.
Dribbling: 9/10 - The dribbling is Messi-esque. Always keeps the ball close to him whilst maintaining speed and very rarely takes a bad touch. Can slip through small gaps with the ball and keep it well.
Defending: 1/10 - Self-explanatory.
Physical: 9/10 - The stamina completes this card imo. Loses minimal fitness every game and I've never seen him drop below 2/3's energy in a match. Strength is obviously the main concern but I can't recall ever needing it with him, which is why I give a 9.
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