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Nemanja Matic Can Dominate Chelsea’s Midfield for the Next Five Years

Nemanja Matic is fast becoming one of the important players at Chelsea and it was probably least evident from his goal against Sporting...


Nemanja Matic is fast becoming one of the important players at Chelsea and it was probably least evident from his goal against Sporting Lisbon. It was only the second goal of the season for the tall defensive midfielder. The goal helped Chelsea get a narrow 1-0 win, although it should have been much more for the chances Jose Mourinho’s men created, to secure the first three points of this European campaign. Chelsea are one of the four teams favourites of the Champions League title in the latest betting odds from Betfair, who back the blues at 13/2.

His physical appearance may cause a lot of havoc in opposition set pieces, but the 25-year-old’s major role comes at the back.

Jose Mourinho has been utilising the 4-2-3-1 formation for some time now. Even though it indicates at two defensive midfielders providing cover for the two centre backs, it certainly does not work that way at Chelsea. It switches more towards a 4-1-4-1 formation when Chelsea have the ball with Cesc Fabregas or Ramires, who usually play in this position, pushing forward. This exposes the defence more than Mourinho would like and Matic’s role is to protect the back four.

Of course, a John obi Mikel can do this job quite brilliantly but the Nigerian international is quite poor in every other aspect of the game. Even though he plays as the attacking midfielder for Nigeria, Mikel contribution in an attacking sense is largely limited to playing the ball sideways. Matic, on the other hand, is the perfect player for this role with his vision and distribution abilities.

The Serbian could have had a wonderful assist for Diego Costa late in the second half against Sporting Lisbon had not been for the opposition goalkeeper being highly alert. His physical presence allows him to push forward with the ball with grace.

Matic’s stellar performance came in last season’s 1-0 win over Manchester City when he completely dominated Yaya Touré, who has been one of the best players in the Premier League over the last few years. He provides the shield for John Terry and Gary Cahill by playing in the Claude Makelele role, but he is much more than a screener.

Few eyebrows were raised when Chelsea splashed £21 million on a player who was not deemed good enough for the first-team only a few years ago, but Matic has shown incredible and quality to suggest that he will be one of the top players in this team for the next five years.


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