It is no surprise that Chelsea Midfielder Nemanja Matic has played a key role in the success of the club’s flourishing, unbeaten start to the new season.
Right from the pre-season tour, the midfield ace has been lying at the heart of the midfield, covering the defense as elegantly as they come. His role was set not to score, not to assist, but to sit back, win possession, break-up opposition plays, dominate possession in the midfield and provide the bulky presence of the beast that the Serbian is(or has now become).
Ever since his move back to Stamford Bridge last January, Matic played every possible game(bar Champions League last season) for the club last season. This season has been no different. The Serbian giant played every minute of every match of every competition, playing a total of 1260 minutes in the premier league alone. Without a doubt, he has been playing as good as he ever could. With an average of 68 passes per game, Matic has served beautifully going forward as well as when shifting the gear backwards.
Offensively, he’s sound, but defensively, he’s a Center-Back’s dream. Covering every empty position, helping the defenders do their jobs, just sitting ahead of them to provide them that extra cover, saying that Matic has been magnificent would be an understatement. He is, as for now, the unsung hero of Chelsea. Granted, Costa’s goals and Fabregas’ assists win you games, but as Sir Alex Ferguson said, “Defense wins you titles”.
However, during his match against Tottenham, he picked up his fifth booking of the season, banning him from the match. Enter: Newcastle United. The bogey team, for Chelsea. The team was without one of its most important squad players and an away win where the manager has never won a game was suddenly feeling like a daunting task, even for the so-called ‘runaway League leaders”. It goes without saying that, even with John Obi Mikel having a good game, Matic’s presence was sorely missed more than anything. Two quick counter attacks led to two costly goals, leading to three huge points dropped. So it is pretty clear that Chelsea Could Do without Costa But Not without Matic!
Chelsea may not have the best backup in terms of strikers, but they are now doing the job given to them perfectly well but can we say the same about the position of holding midfield as well? Is the depth of the squad well enough to cover the “Makelele role”? How Chelsea deals with the situation remains to be seen, but I think I speak for every Chelsea fan when I say that I hope Matic remains on the pitch for every minute of this season.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt