The last Premier League game before Christmas ensured the Blues stayed on top of the table defeating Stoke 0-2 in their own backyard. Mark Hughes’ men certainly gave it all they had but the team to beat were composed and disciplined throughout the 90minutes.
There was a minor but crucial change in Chelsea’s midfield. Mourinho opted to start with the double padlock of Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel for the second time this season having only previously been paired together against Hull earlier this month.
The Serbian was a class apart, phenomenal and certainly our best player last night.
Stoke are known to be an extremely physical side and Nemanja Matic was up to the task matching every player bicep to bicep; winning headers and regaining lost possession for the team with unbelievable tackles. With incredible marking skills he defended every corner with ease and derailed Stoke’s counter making sure nothing went past him.
Matic covered a great amount of ground, helping out the back 4 when needed and also imposed a real threat going forward providing accurate passes; another dimension to his game play and made sure Stoke had no link between midfield and attack.
The Serbian’s positional play was absolutely incredible. He acted like a barrier protecting Cahill and Terry. Matic had 9 tackles to his name whereas Cahill and Terry just had 1 between them. The Serbian gained possession 11 times and distributed the ball very well. The 6’4″ defensive midfielder brilliantly controlled possession and made sure Bojan Krkic had a bad day at the office.
The Serbian’s performance does not come as a surprise, he has outperformed every progressing game and proved to be one of the most influential players for Jose Mourinho.
With their 5th consecutive victory in all competitions the Blues have regained lost confidence after their Newcastle misery and stay on top going into Christmas. Chelsea have a busy weekend ahead with 2 derby matches and an important visit to Southampton. It will be great to see how the master tactician shuffles his squad making sure Chelsea stay on top throughout 2014.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt