There has been much debate surrounding Manchester United’s midfield in recent weeks. Most of the media attention has of course revolved around where best Jose Mourinho should play the club’s record signing Paul Pogba, in order to get the best out of the talented France international.
However, any regular United watcher will more than likely confirm that this has not been the only issue with the Red Devils midfield over the last month or so. The Old Trafford club’s £40 million summer signing Nemanja Matic has also been nowhere near his best as of late.
The Serbia international began his United career in imperious form, and seemed to be the perfect tactically mature foil to allow United’s young attackers thrive. However, in recent times Matic has looked jaded and off the pace in several of his sides games.
Routine passes began to become misplaced and interceptions to break up opposition attacks were being slightly mistimed.
For United fans seeing one of the team’s most important players start to suffer a dip in form at this stage of the season, just as the club’s ambitions for the top four, FA Cup and Champions League begin to reach boiling point, was a worrying development.
Therefore, Matic’s return to his best form during his sides crucial 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford yesterday, will have been greeted with delight by those associated with the club.
The 29-year-old did a superb job as United’s defensive screen. He snapped away at the heels of his former team-mates in Blue all afternoon turning over possession on numerous occassions. In possession he was calm and composed. Not to mention the job he did in guiding youngster Scott McTominay through another impressive performance.
When Eric Bailly entered the fray with ten minutes to go he ran straight to Matic with a written note from Mourinho. This was no surprise considering the job the big Serbian had done in nullifying Chelsea’s attack during the second-half in particular. It felt like a note being passed from the coach on the sideline to United’s coach on the pitch.
With the season about to enter it’s make or break stage Mourinho and United fan’s will be happy that their midfield lynchpin has got his mojo back, as without him in top form, his side will struggle to end this season successfully.