Mata welcomes Man Utd landmarks after joining elite Premier League club

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Juan Mata Manchester United
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The Spain international opened his goal account for 2017-18 against Crystal Palace, while reaching 200 games in the English top-flight

Juan Mata enjoyed a landmark outing against Crystal Palace, as he opened his 2017-18 goal account on his 200th Premier League appearance.

The Spain international arrived in English football back in 2011, when Chelsea paid Valencia £23.5 million for his services.

United 11/4 to win Premier League

After FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League successes, he moved on to United in January 2014 for £37.1m.

He has become a key figure for the Red Devils, despite seeing some question his role once Jose Mourinho inherited the managerial reins, and underlined that value on Saturday in a 4-0 victory over Palace.

Mata wrote in his personal blog on that outing: “Last Saturday, we defeated Crystal Palace and I was able to score my first goal of the season, after several games with a few shots against the woodwork.

“I scored just three minutes into the game in a big play by Marcus [Rashford], who sent the ball back and I managed to put it beyond the goalkeeper’s reach at first touch. 

Juan Mata Manchester United 200 Premier League appearances

“Scoring goals has always been an important aspect of my game, although I’m not a striker, and I hope to help the team again this season with as many goals as I can.

“That 1-0 [lead] came pretty soon and it helped us a lot. After a long trip back from Moscow, without much time to recover, the team showed its ambition from the very first minute.

“The three points keep us on top of the table with City.

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“It was my 200th game in the Premier League, I’m very proud of reaching these figures and I hope to increase them. I still need to play a few more games to catch [Gareth] Barry!”

West Brom midfielder Barry recently passed United legend Ryan Giggs to top the all-time Premier League appearance chart.

Mata, at 29 years of age, is unlikely to get anywhere near the figures posted by that duo, but he certainly has plenty of football left in him as he chases down more major honours at Old Trafford.