Of all of the Spaniards who played on Saturday and Sunday, the one who made the most headlines was someone not even selected on the bench. Juan Mata found himself out of Chelsea’s squad for their game against Fulham which has caused quite an uproar. The diminutive playmaker has all the attributes which has helped Chelsea to two European titles but is being frozen out by Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
Blue’s assistant boss Steve Holland has urged Mata to be patient and to trust Mourinho, citing Cristiano Ronaldo’s rise as a prime example of his expertise, but a player of Mata’s quality cannot be content with fleeting substitute and minor cup appearances, especially ahead of a World Cup.
On the other hand, a fellow Spaniard has been excelling recently and will be hoping his efforts don’t go unnoticed ahead of the World Cup in Brazil next year. Michu has now scored three times in the past week with strikes against Liverpool, Valencia and Crystal Palace and is doing everything for Vicente del Bosque to give him a call-up. The striker notched after just 90 seconds against Palace in a comfortable win which also included Chico, Angel Rangel, Alejandro Pozuelo and Alejandro Vazquez, making his first start since signing on loan from Getafe in the summer. Jose Campana also featured for the hosts in their 2-0 defeat.
Like Campana, David de Gea also endured a miserable weekend as he conceded four goals in the Manchester derby defeat to rivals City. Jesus Navas was instrumental for City, making one assist in the 4-1 win. His old Sevilla teammate Alvaro Negredo also started and Javi Garcia featured as a substitute for two-goal hero Sergio Aguero at the end.
Surely in the battle with Negredo and Michu to make Spain’s World Cup squad is Spurs’ Roberto Soldado. He played 90 minutes against Cardiff on Sunday as they scored late on to win 1-0. He is yet to score from open play for Spurs in the Premier League this season but the team has a lot of new signings who will gel in time.
Fernando Torres came on against Fulham for Chelsea but failed to find the net once again. You feel that the former Liverpool striker will have to become more consistent to seal a spot in the 23 man squad, especially with Cesc Fabregas’ spectacular form for Barcelona.
There was good news for Arsenal fans as Mikel Arteta continued his return with an appearance from the subs bench against Stoke on Sunday. Nach Monreal also featured as a sub but Santi Cazorla continues to battle injury and is another few games from returning to the first team.
Antonio Luna and Javier Garrido played 90 minutes each in the game between Villa and Norwich with Luna’s side prevailing 1-0 winners. And as for Iago Aspas and Jose Enrique, the pair were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline as Southampton shocked the Reds at Anfield. Aspas was hauled off at half-time and is yet to score in the Premier League this season, failing to justify his big money move from Celta Vigo in the summer.