Manchester United vs. Cardiff: Simulating Juan Mata's Debut on FIFA 14

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured Columnist IVApril 9, 2017

Manchester United's new signing Juan Mata stands before a press conference at the team's Carrington training ground, Manchester, England, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. With Manchester United in danger of missing out on the Champions League next season, Juan Mata's arrival at Old Trafford for a club record fee of 37.1 million pounds ($61.2 million) is certainly an emergency move. But it also marks the first step in the rebuilding process of England's most titled club. After a botched transfer campaign last summer that was followed by the club's lackluster first half of the season, United now looks determined to allow manager David Moyes the opportunity to build his own team.(AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Manchester United fans haven't had much to shout about in recent times, but the arrival of Juan Mata will certainly give Old Trafford a lift.

The £37.1 million Spaniard is set to make his debut during the Jan. 28 tie with Cardiff, per Sky Sports. For those who can't wait to catch a first glimpse of the former Chelsea maestro in his new red shirt, we decided a special FIFA 14 simulation was in order.

With the latest EA Sports Match Day update applied on Xbox One, we let virtual Mata do his thing against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's struggling Welsh side. Could he influence the game?

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 11:  Juan Mata of Spain looks on during the warm up prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Belarus at Iberostars Stadium on October 11, 2013 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos
David Ramos/Getty Images

Let's take a look.

P.S. Forgive the lack of No. 8 shirt, it'll be added to the next sim, promise.

 

Manchester United vs. Cardiff: FIFA 14 Highlights

1'—Mata's first touch is a typically creative lobbed pass to Wayne Rooney up front. The Englishman can't quite connect, leaving David Marshall to collect.

15'—Neither side is creating much, but Mata looks to be settled behind Rooney in the No. 10 spot. He is linking well with Adnan Januzaj and Antonio Valencia, playing forward-thinking, pass-and-move football.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Manchester United Manager David Moyes acknowledges the fans prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 11, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Sha
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

32'—Cardiff are really getting into the game now. Fraizer Campbell clatters into David De Gea, who just manages to keep hold of the ball while under pressure.

45'—Silence around Old Trafford as Cardiff snatch the lead. It's poor defending from the likes of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling, who have looked lacklustre when called upon.

Craig Noone's cross causes havoc at the far post, allowing Peter Whittingham to steer the ball back toward Aron Gunnarsson, who doesn't even look as he guides his effort in from close range!

Half-Time: Manchester United 0-1 Cardiff (Gunnarsson)

55'—The moment all United fans have been waiting for! Mata starts a smart passing move in the middle, lays off to Rooney and sprints into the box. Rooney dinks over Cardiff's defence and watches on, as Mata chests superbly before firing home.

He's scored on his debut!

73'—United gaining confidence as Mata threads a pass out wide to Januzaj. The Belgian cuts in well but can't deliver the cross.

83'—Moyes goes all-out attacking by replacing Phil Jones with Javier Hernandez. The sub pays off instantly, as the crafty Mexican nips in to place home Ashley Young's cross. United lead late on!

90'—Cardiff can't muster one final effort on goal as Mata holds onto the ball in the centre.

Full-Time: Manchester United 2-1 Cardiff (Gunnarsson, Mata, Hernandez)

So, a goal and comeback win on Mata's debut, but can he replicate such success in real life? Here's a breakdown of the new signing's stats for the match:

Juan Mata's Stats vs. Cardiff
Goals1
Assists0
Shots on Target100% (1/1)
Passes Completed87.5% (14/16)
Dribbles Completed88.9% (8/9)
Crosses CompletedN/A (0/0)
Tackles Completed100% (1/1)
FIFA 14

Will Mata provide an instant impact during the proper fixture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.