Manchester United’s newest recruit Nemanja Matic has repaid the faith his team had in him by playing crucial roles in United’s matches. Matic always materialised to pick up loose balls, counterattack and even win a few tackles. In fact, United boss Jose Mourinho has labelled the Serbian as a ‘player with special qualities’. Matic’s arrival rejuvenated the midfield and raised it to new heights. While other midfielders like Carrick were equally effective, no one was as aggressive as Matic.
But is Matic the core ingredient in ensuring that United can go back up where they belong? He is certainly capable of dominating the middle of the pack and creating chances for his teammates. In the 4-0 West Ham massacre, although fellow new signing Romelu Lukaku managed to stamp his authority on the scoreboard, it was Matic who helped out in creating the opportunities. Mourinho also called the Serb the perfect player for his counter-attacking tactics. Even during his Chelsea stint, he was a key player in Antonio Conte’s league-winning squad.
Matic has a similar playing style as Marouane Fellaini, but what Fellaini lacks as compared to the Serb is the ability to hold onto the ball. He is also an unpredictable player due to his usage of feints. He employed this tactic at Chelsea where he formed a fruitful partnership with Willian on many occasions. Matic is also a highly tactical player and can dictate the gameplay according to his own terms. He also has the ability to fire in shots from the deep end.
Comparing Matic and Romelu Lukaku from a statistical point of view. The Belgian has more matches under his belt as well as more goals, but Matic has a higher pass stats of 55.08 while Lukaku only has 23.81. He also has executed more tackles than the Belgian with 327 rivalling 51. Matic also has a 75% successful tackle rate as well as 272 clearances and 221 interceptions.