Juan Mata's Magic and the Top 5 Players from Around the World This Weekend
When Wayne and Robin are away, Juan Mata will play.
Manchester United's record signing enjoyed a terrific afternoon at St. James' Park on Saturday (which is more than can be said for the disillusioned home contingent) as he scored two goals and provided an assist in the Red Devils' 4-0 demolition of Newcastle.
Evidently, without Rooney and van Persie in the side, Mata had the opportunity to shine to his full potential.
United's No. 8 leads our list of the top five player performances from the weekend.
Last weekend, Manchester United put four past Aston Villa, and Mata found the net for the first time in a red shirt. This weekend, the Red Devils put the same amount past a feckless Newcastle United side, with the Spaniard scoring twice and earning a lovely assist.
Mata's opener in the 39th minute was a sublime free-kick, while his second was a simple finish past Rob Elliot after buildup work from Shinji Kagawa and Chicharito. His finest moment, however, might have been the backheel assist he provided Adnan Januzaj for United's fourth.
One can only imagine how rampant the reigning champions would have been if Rooney and van Persie were also available, but Mata will certainly be missed in this week's vital clash at the Allianz Arena.
After a disappointing midweek visit to the Bernabeu, Borussia Dortmund returned to winning ways on Saturday with a 2-1 home victory over Wolfsburg.
BVB's star player, once again, was Marco Reus, who provided the corner that allowed Robert Lewandowski to equalise, and who capitalised on a dropped ball from Wolfsburg keeper Max Grun to net a late winner.
Clearly, Jurgen Klopp was incredibly pleased with the midfielder's 13th goal of the season.
This is Reus' second consecutive week of being Dortmund's key contributor, as he scored a hat-trick in last week's hard-fought 3-2 win at Stuttgart.
Only 24 minutes had passed in Seattle's visit to MLS rivals Portland when Clint Dempsey scored his first goal of the season to level the score at 2-2.
Shortly after the break, Portland went ahead 4-2, and Seattle trailed for nearly half an hour before the Deuce came to the rescue. In the 85th minute, he scrambled the ball past Portland keeper Andrew Weber before adding a penalty two minutes later, giving a 4-4 final scoreline.
This was Dempsey's first MLS hat-trick since 2011 and the fifth ever scored by a Sounder. The American also boasted a pass completion rate of 85 percent and had five shots on target—more than double anyone else on the field.
According to The Associated Press (via ESPN FC), Seattle actually planned to keep Dempsey on the field for only 60 minutes. They are probably quite glad they let him stick around.
Jose Mourinho has been complaining about his lack of strike options lately, but a prolific Chelsea forward has been helping Everton in their quest for Champions League football.
Romelu Lukaku was pivotal in the Toffees' 3-0 demolition of fourth-place rivals Arsenal on Sunday. His rebounded shot fell to Steven Naismith in the 14th minute to open the scoring, and 20 minutes later, the Belgian fired home a superb solo goal.
This game provided Lukaku's 13th Premier League goal of the season and his sixth assist. Even the Arsenal subs bench couldn't help but grin in admiration at the big fella, via Mail Online Sport.
Malaga pulled away from the La Liga relegation zone on Sunday with a 4-1 rout over Granada. The star of the show was midfielder Nacho Camacho, who put Los Boquerones up 2-0 in the first half with two brilliant headers.
According to @OptaJose, seven of Camacho's eight league goals this season have come from his noggin.
Camacho also won a penalty in the second half when he was felled by Jeison Murillo, which Nordin Amrabat duly converted from the spot.
The 23-year-old Spaniard made more interceptions than anyone else on his team (4), won all of his aerial duels and scored from both of his shots at goal. Not a bad day at the office for the defensive midfielder.
Stats via WhoScored.com unless otherwise noted.
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