Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Missing In Action: Kagawa (left) and Mata. Images from Getty.
The gaping, Juan Mata-shaped hole in Chelsea's lineup has got everyone talking—the Spaniard having only played 120 minutes of top-flight football this season.
Mata, in case you have been living under a rock (or managing Real Madrid) for the past two years, has been one of the best players at Stamford Bridge in recent campaigns. So good, in fact, that he was voted the club's Player of the Year for the last two consecutive seasons, Chelsea's Player's Player of the Year last term and, to cap it all, was voted into the PFA Team of the Year in 2012/13.
What more does a man have to do to get into the first team?
As seen in the Guardian, Mourinho has told Mata to adapt his game if he wants to have a starting role in his Stamford Bridge side. Leaving many fans, Chelsea and otherwise, perplexed.
Shinji Kagawa's absence from Manchester United's midfield, has left Red Devils fans scratching their heads in a similar fashion.
Kagawa's former manager at Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp, told Donald McRae of the Guardian last season:
Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United - on the left wing!
My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes.
This term, under David Moyes, the Japan international has not featured in the Premier League at all. Kagawa has made appearances for United only in a Champions League tie against Bayer Leverkusen and in the 1-0 League Cup win against Liverpool.
Moyes appeared to take a swipe at the attacking midfielder after the Liverpool game. He told reporters, via FIFA.com:
He did OK. I thought he grew into the game a little bit more. There were bits which I was pleased with, and bits where we were looking for a little bit more. Overall, he's still getting back.
A lot's been said (about his lack of playing time), but I think most people who watched would say he's still short of being really at full match fitness.