The former Liverpool legend believes the Spaniard can now lay claim to being one of the best No 10s in the league after he took his tally to four goals in 15 appearances under Jose Mourinho this season.
The goal was also his 13th against one of the ‘big six’ clubs since he arrived in England with Chelsea from Valencia in 2011, more than any of his other playmaker rivals.
Mata’s time at Old Trafford was expected to be over in the summer upon Mourinho’s arrival after the Spaniard sold him to United in 2014, only six months after returning to Stamford Bridge.
However, his performances have arguably been the most stand-out from a United player this season and Carragher believes they have gone under the radar.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “I think we're looking at one of the most underrated players in the Premier League.
“When we think of great No 10s, players who like to get in between the lines, players of his ilk like Ozil, De Bruyne, Coutinho, Silva and Hazard. We should be rating this man a lot higher.
“People always talk about assists with No 10s, but I don't care what position you play a goal is more important than an assist for me. He's getting more goals than any players in those positions, only Silva has more assists.”
“I think the reason he doesn't get that credit the others get, he was Player of the Year in his first two years at Chelsea, then Mourinho comes in – the best manager in the world – and decides ‘not for me’.
Manchester United vs Arsenal player ratings
Manchester United vs Arsenal player ratings
1/22 David de Gea - 4 out of 10
With Arsenal scoring their only shot on target, it’s not been the best day for the Spaniard. He had very little to do throughout.
2/22 Antonio Valencia - 8 out of 10
Performed exceptionally today, looking strong going forward and defensively.
3/22 Phil Jones - 5 out of 10
Did the simple stuff well at the back, but looked slow defensively at times.
4/22 Marcos Rojo - 6 out of 10
Defended well throughout proceedings, played safely and used possession well from the back.
5/22 Matteo Darmian - 5 out of 10
A mediocre performance from the Italian. He was lunging into challenges, despite already being armed with a yellow card.
6/22 Michael Carrick - 5 out of 10
The skipper played a very standard performance today. He played his role well and stuck to his position.
7/22 Ander Herrera - 7 out of 10
His work rate was faultless and he influenced play in the middle of the park – good overall performance.
8/22 Paul Pogba - 6 out of 10
He appeared to patrol the middle of the park in the first half, but in the second half he seemed to go off the boil. He did not make many chances and lacked any attacking prowess.
9/22 Juan Mata - 8 out of 10
An exceptional performance from the Spaniard today. His goal was an example of his immense technical ability and he created chances throughout.
10/22 Anthony Martial - 6 out of 10
A somewhat quiet performance from him today, but he showed glimpses of brilliance in the first half with a number of strikes that tested Cech.
11/22 Marcus Rashford - 6 out of 10
Despite being caught out for the late Arsenal goal, his performance throughout was positive. He attacked confidently and his crossing was inviting problems for the Arsenal defence.
12/22 Petr Cech - 6 out of 10
He made a number of important saves in the first half, but was out of position when Mata broke the deadlock.
13/22 Carl Jenkinson - 4 out of 10
It was a somewhat uncomfortable performance from him today, as he looked slow and unable to keep up with the pace of the United strike force.
14/22 Laurent Koscielny - 6 out of 10
He did well in the air today, but the United attack got the better of him at times as he was caught out of position.
15/22 Shkodran Mustafi - 5 out of 10
It was an incredibly mediocre performance by the German. He did well in possession, but that wasn’t enough at times.
16/22 Nacho Monreal - 5 out of 10
A questionable penalty call in the first half was the main incident for the Spainard. He failed to show his defensive ability against the quality of United going forward.
17/22 Francis Coquelin - 6 out of 10
Made a number of important tackles, but it wasn’t enough to stop his opponents running the midfield battle.
18/22 Mohamed Elneny - 4 out of 10
The Egyptian made a few unneeded and mistimed challenges and failed to show any sign of threat when going forward.
19/22 Aaron Ramsey - 5 out of 10
He had very little of the ball throughout, and when he did he failed to do much with it.
20/22 Mesut Ozil - 5 out of 10
Taking into account his huge talent, it was a rather dim performance. He failed to create chances and feed Sanchez which resulted in Arsenal having no spark going forward.
21/22 Theo Walcott - 4 out of 10
A very quiet performance from the winger today. He saw very little of the ball and was regularly caught playing too narrow which left Arsenal with no width to their attacks.
22/22 Alexis Sanchez - 6 out of 10
He looked dangerous when in possession, but a lack of service did not allow him to make a real impact on the game.
“People think, ‘Mourinho can't be wrong’, so there must be something wrong with Mata.
“He comes to Manchester United – ‘he's not a Manchester United player, he's got no pace, the fee is well over the odds’ - what No 10 does have pace? Martial? They paid £55m for him. He's doing more than him, and he hasn't got that pace.
“I think it's about time in this Premier League that we start looking at Juan Mata in this group of players as one of the top players in the league. It's not a flash in the pan, he's been here five years. He should start getting a lot more credit.”Reuse content