Chelsea host Manchester United tonight at Stamford Bridge, and Juan Mata, writing from his hotel, reckons that the sheer magnitude of the tie – coupled with his emotional connection to Chelsea – makes tonight a special occasion.
“Today, I’m writing from London, from our pre-game hotel by the Thames,” he wrote on his blog One Hour Behind.
“As you know, tonight we play the FA Cup quarter-finals against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“Every game is important, but we are approaching that crucial part of the season where every tie will define our future in all the competitions we’re still playing, so tonight’s game is special.
“First of all, because the FA Cup semi-finals are at stake. We are the defending champions and that, together with the recent visit to Wembley and the EFL Cup trophy, gives us an extra power in this great competition.
“And obviously, playing such a game against Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge, where I have felt very welcome ever since the first day, means that this is one of the games in the year that are ‘different’. It would be great news to go back to Wembley this season.”
It’s been three years since Mata left Chelsea, and he was once a favourite at the club.