Nemanja Matic: Manchester United’s man in the engine room

Nemanja Matic is a player who displays the utmost professionalism on the pitch and off it as well. He is like a Lieutenant who is tasked with guiding a platoon of soldiers to a certain goal. Also, Jose Mourinho is always praising the midfielder one such instance was when he told BT Sport that Matic was “an island of personality” and a player of class and desire. I call him senshi which is the Japanese word for warrior, as his consistent and combative style of play makes him a very important member of the Manchester United squad. Hence the literature that I will be composing will focus on Nemanja Matic and how he has made United a better team.

In July 2017 when I saw the news that Manchester United had signed Nemanja Matic, I realized that Chelsea no longer wanted to be champions but also, I saw that Mourinho wanted to improve his midfield thus the overall quality of the team. Upon making his Premier League debut against West Ham United, the signs were there that United had signed a world-class midfielder. The touch, the control, the passing in that game by Matic not only impressed United fans but left Chelsea fans fuming at the decision to let go such a composed warrior who was now elegantly playing his trade in the Manchester United engine room.

He received the Man of the Match award for his performance but also, he won over more fans and earned comparisons to the legend Michael Carrick. Throughout the 2017/18 competitive season, Nemanja Matic made forty-eight appearances for United scoring two goals assisting another goal. And his first goal for United was worth the wait has it was an absolute gem of a goal from twenty-five yards out, on the half volley that sent the United travelling fans into ecstasy.

He was an ever-present warrior in the United team as he was one of the most featured players throughout the campaign for the Red Devils. When Matic is not making interceptions, he can be seen dictating the tempo of the game, making crucial tackles to break up play, covering the defence and allowing the more attacking players to get in their rhythm and finally making accurate passes forward to kickstart the attack for his side.

How does Matic make United a better team? Clearly, he is the lynchpin in the United midfield and he allows everything else and everyone to click or operate with efficiency. Currently, such players are overlooked and undervalued but Matic is a player who makes sure that his presence is felt in every game he plays. To further expound on the genius of Matic let us think about September 17th, 2017. Any ideas of where I am going? Alright, no worries let me explain what is implied when I said genius as that day United played Everton in the Premier League.

In that very match, Matic showed what true vision is and the ability to act upon one’s vision in midfield and execute a pass to complete a process. As the rain was pouring down at Old Trafford, in the fourth minute United was in full flow and on the attack when Matic received the ball just outside the Everton area on the left side of the pitch and had many options to pass the ball to but out of the cameras field of vision and also the people’s field of vision, Matic found Antonio Valencia with a beautiful pass to the right side of the pitch that the latter struck on the half volley from 20-yards out into the top corner of Jordan Pickford’s net.

I mean Matic demonstrated his vision and accuracy with the pass in that match in full beast mode and while others only saw Matic, I saw glimpses of Carrick. I could let my fingers type endlessly about the greatness of Matic, however, actions speak louder than words so stay tuned to the FIFA World Cup and watch out for Nemanja Matic the Serbian gladiator.

Written by Ricardo Edwards

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