Monday night's win against Manchester City saw the first start for new signing Nemanja Matic after his £21m move from Benfica in January.

The big Serb made an immediate impression and managed to keep Yaya Toure at bay - something easier said than done.

He partnered David Luiz in midfield and the Brazilian was given the job of man-marking David Silva out of the game. With these tactics, City lacked the cutting edge to do any real damage and penetrate a Chelsea defence that is becoming more and more solid with every passing game.

Matic's arrival means that Mourinho now has six people who can play in the midfield two of the favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. Mikel and Matic would be contesting the defensive component of that midfield duo whilst Lampard and Ramires would offer something more offensive. Other options include David Luiz, who Mourinho seems to favour more in midfield than in defence at the moment and Van Ginkel, who is out injured until the end of the season but will prove to be a fantastic addition to the side come August.

If we take Van Ginkel out of the equation and assume that, due to Matic being cup tied in the Champions League, he will start the majority of the league games, then there are four possibilities for the centre midfield pairing in the Premier League. In the following the different midfield pairings for Chelsea will be evaluated.

Lampard - Matic

This was used briefly in the draw against West Ham when Mourinho wanted to shake the game up a bit and grab a late winner. Lampard was given a very free role which allowed him to making darting runs into the box and hover around the 18-yard line whilst Matic sat behind him and mopped up anything that came through - not that West Ham provided much going forward.

This pairing would be ideal for matches against teams that 'park the bus' and defend in numbers at the edge of their own box. Lampard is given licence to attack whilst Matic can release forward balls from deeper - something that the Serb is more adept at than John Obi Mikel.

Ramires - Matic

Ramires and Matic have not been paired together as yet, but did both start against Manchester City. Ramires operated the right hand side in order to limit the impact Kolarov could have when overlapping and delivering crosses into the box. Ramires' workmanlike attitude means he is an ideal box-to-box midfielder.

However, the Brazilian does have lapses in concentration and his passing can become wayward, so a defensive figure such as Matic, who can cover for these errors, is ideal. When Ramires has partnered Mikel this has also been the case, whilst a Ramires-Lampard duo often left gaps in behind them which could be exploited by opposition midfielders.

Luiz - Matic

This midfield combination was put to the test against Manchester City and they dealt with it with flying colours. Both these players are physically dominant and possess enough skill to start counter attacks with a quick ball released from deep.

This pairing is very dynamic and if Luiz can be reeled in by Matic from time to time, then it can become very successful. Whilst it was ideal against a tough City midfield which likes to bully it's opposition, both players lack the forward drive and ability that Lampard or Ramires could provide.

Even though both players are capable going forward, as Matic proved with his shot which hit the woodwork and Luiz has shown on countless occasions for Chelsea, they are both defensive players at heart.

Mikel - Matic

This is a partnership we are unlikely to see very often. They both fulfill the same role in the team and you would imagine that it would be one or the other. Mikel is more able to retain possession and shield the ball, whilst Matic is a more dynamic player who will risk more going forward.

Nevertheless, this is a midfield pairing that will only be used when Mourinho needs his big men on the field to close up shop and seal a narrow win. The late substitution on Monday when Mikel came on for Willian to ensure City did not get a last minute equaliser in stoppage time, is a perfect example of this scenario.

In conclusion, it is a matter of horses for courses and Mourinho will know this better than anyone else.

Everyone will get their opportunity but one can imagine Matic becoming a very prominent player in the Mourinho set up in years to come.


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Topics:
#Nemanja Matic
#Ramires
#David Luiz
#Chelsea
#Football
#Frank Lampard