Nemanja Matic- The Spider's Web
Nemanja Matic made his full debut for Chelsea yesterday in our 1-0 win at home to Stoke City in the FA Cup. Deployed in the holding midfield role by Mourinho, he acted as a sweeper in the midfield and added another dimension to our game. His defensive discipline allows players like Lampard and Ramires to roam further forward without fear of being caught out. Matic is good in the tackle and has a great eye for the game, putting a halt to several dangerous looking Stoke attacks.
Having said that, his distribution was a tale of two halves. He obviously understands the importance of the short pass and will play it with accuracy [89% pass completion] but the few times he attempted something slightly more long range, he appeared to over-do it. Obviously, there would have been nerves to compensate for yesterday but we need a player in the middle of the park who can pick a pass from all areas of the pitch.
I liken his domination of the middle of the park to a spider`s web. On the basis of his nickname, 'The Spider`, he controlled the tempo in and around the middle of the pitch and was a welcome sight pitted against the huge Stoke midfielders. He`s a superb tackler, aided by his mile long legs, and he`s strong on the ball. He was caught out a few times by the sudden change in pace and lost his footing on a number of occasions but that is a factor that he`ll adapt to. The Portuguese league is a very different animal to the Premier League!
I liked Matic yesterday. He brought another dimension to the team with his power and resilience in the middle and he is certainly an upgrade on Mikel. He provides more security for our back line and allows the more attacking minded players [Oscar, Lampard etc.] to go forward. I think his purchase will result in the departure of either Lampard, Luiz or Mikel though. Personally, I think Lampard has another season in him and Mikel is a good replacement for Matic so you`d have to look to Luiz. The Brazilian actually played quite well yesterday in the centre of defence but I still can`t stop myself cringing whenever he has the ball.
What do you think? Did you rate Matic`s performance yesterday? Can you envisage him becoming essential to Jose`s game plan?
Matic is not yet the finished article, be under no illusion. He has to adapt to the speed of the English game and his marauding runs from deep didn`t really come to fruition yesterday. Nonetheless, he has all the attributes to succeed in our team and I can see the Spider`s web becoming the dominant force in many games to come.
Up the Blues!