LOOKING BACK: NO 10

Posted on: Thu 21 Jun 2012

To say it was a memorable debut season at Stamford Bridge for the diminutive playmaker would be something of an understatement.

Juan Mata announced his arrival at the club by scoring with almost his first touch after coming on as a substitute in the 3-1 win against Norwich City, and from that point onwards, he never looked back.

Under the stewardship of Andre Villas-Boas, Mata started his Blues career playing out wide on the left, although he was moved into a more central role at times, more often than not following substitutions.

However, as a wide man, when the side were struggling for confidence in the middle of the campaign, he was all too often a peripheral figure, sparking the decision, ultimately taken by Roberto Di Matteo, to play him in a more central role on a more permanent basis..

Twelve goals in his first campaign at the club was a credible return, with a stunning volley in the 3-3 draw against Manchester United undoubtedly the standout strike.

Bought more as a creator of chances than a converter, however, Mata certainly met his remit, with 26 assists to his name and a number of big performances when it really mattered.

Instrumental in the 5-1 FA Cup semi-final victory against Tottenham Hotspur, when he scored one -albeit controversially - and made two, he was a central figure once more during the final against Liverpool when he supplied the pass from which Ramires scored the opening goal of the game.

His performances had done enough to earn the Spaniard the club's Player of the Year award, and while he missed our first penalty in the shoot-out against Bayern Munich, it would take far more than that to put a dampener on his first season in England.

Appearances: 47+7
Goals: 12
Assists: 26
Minutes on pitch: 4,276