Manchester United are not messing about this season, just ask West Ham supporters.
Jose Mourinho’s men put on a show for the Old Trafford crowd as they summited the Premier League table with an emphatic 4-0 win. Romelu Lukaku bagged a brace on his home bow with Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba also scoring.
Nevertheless, while United’s record signing was soaking up the plaudits for his goal scoring, it was the Red Devils’ most recent capture that attracted the most attention.
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Nemanja Matic – freshly united with Mourinho – shined against the Hammers and earned himself the Man of the Match award.
He made more touches than any other player, gained possession on nine occasions and finished with an impressive passing accuracy of 86%.
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The Serbian had quietly impressed against Sampdoria and the UEFA Super Cup but this was the true indication of his quality.
Naturally, the move has sparked a considerable amount of controversy with Chelsea having shipped the midfielder to a close rival. Matic made 154 appearances for the Blues across two spells at Stamford Bridge.
And although £40 million proves a reasonable fee for the 29-year-old, it saw Chelsea bizarrely relinquish a regular starter from two title winning seasons. Just one game into his United career and that quality is enduring.
You wouldn’t like to be a Blues supporter, who would have been baying for a poor Matic performance after their whimsical 3-2 defeat to Burnley.
To make things worse too, Phil Neville was on hand to rub salt into Chelsea wounds. The ex-Manchester United man was lapping up Matic’s showing and posted the following tweets during the game:
Deliberately savage, of course, but the BBC pundit perfectly demonstrates the emotions of United fans.
The tweet struck a nerve with Chelsea supporters on Twitter who quickly sought to defend themselves. Check out the pick of the tweets:
It does go without saying that you can judge so much from just one Premier League game. However, the west London side are playing a dangerous game in handing a title rival an ex-first teamer.
After all, even Mourinho himself was surprised that Chelsea opened the door for the move. He conceded: “I was not thinking of signing Matic because I never go for players who I think are an impossible mission to sign. I felt that there would be no chance.”
Antonio Conte will have to hope Tiemoue Bakayoko proves a worthy replacement or, like Matic, their title could also be heading north.
Who would you rather have in your team - Matic or Bakayoko? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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