Despite being an unparalleled success in his first two seasons at Chelsea, Juan Mata has been the subject of much negative media attention ever since Jose Mourinho's arrival in the summer. In fact, said football media have shown their power by convincing many a fan and observer that Mata is just not Mourinho's type of player - despite providing absolutely no evidence of any sort to back up any such claims - and was thus made him fodder to an endless stream of baseless rumors and transfer speculation.
Not helping matters was Mata's involvement in Spain's Confederations Cup campaign, which saw him miss Chelsea's tour of Asia (alongside David Luiz, Oscar, Mikel, Moses, Omeruo, and Cesar Azpilicueta). Not helping matters further was the muscular injury that Mata picked up halfway through the subsequent tour of the USA, which then saw him miss not only training, but the last two preseason warmup matches as well as the season opener versus Hull City. He attempted a comeback in the next match, but was clearly below par and not quite himself and thus went as an unused substitute against both Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
He made a second try at the comeback over the weekend, playing the first 57 minutes before being withdrawn for Oscar. His early substitution was cause for further consternation along the lines of the media narrative, but most likely it was just a case of Mourinho being a bit too clever for his own sake and over-thinking the situation.
Regardless of your personal interpretation of said events, the key question right now is just how fit Chelsea's back-to-back player of the year is feeling.
I can confirm that I’m feeling good after the muscular problems I’ve been suffering since pre-season…
-Juan Mata; source: One Hour Behind
Straight from Juan Mata's keyboard to your screens!
While "feeling good" is not exactly an exact prognosis, hopefully it does mean that Mata has finally put his lingering injury issues of the past month and half behind him and he can resume his rightful place near the top of Chelsea's minutes-played charts. No better time to start that than Wednesday in the Champions League versus FC Basel.