Nemanja Matić partners Cesc Fàbregas in the heart of Chelsea's midfield and although it has been the latter snatching the recent headlines, the Serbian has arguably proved himself as one of the Blues' most influential players.
Powerhouse Matić is vital to the success of Chelsea and he has paved his way into the team as possibly Jose Mourinho's most important midfielder.
Matić originally joined Chelsea in a £1.5m deal from Košice, but departed West London for Benfica as a makeweight in the transfer that saw David Luiz, now of PSG, arrive at Stamford Bridge in 2011.
Chelsea re-signed the Serbian in the January transfer window and since his re-arrival, Matić has been in sensational form, particularly against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
26-year-old Matic brings stability to the Chelsea side; he can often be found winning the ball in front of the defensive line, but also possesses the ability to launch powerful runs into the heart of opposition teams and spray exquisite pin-point precision passes across the field of play, searching out and finding teammates ahead of him. There are very few players who can match Matić defensively that are also as comfortable with the ball at their feet.
Variety of skills
Without Matić, Chelsea would be left exposed against teams with top quality firepower, such as Manchester City or Manchester United. It is Matić who provides his defence with a third centre-half at times, but it is also he who launches the counter-attacks which saw Chelsea overcome the likes of PSG last term.
Matić's consistent, tenacious, determined performances win Chelsea games week in, week out but rarely does he see his name on the back pages.
If Matić were to suffer from a prolonged injury, his role would be left to John Obi Mikel, who possesses undoubted talent but isn't capable of reaching anything like the same heights oas Matić.
Mikel is solid defensively, but poor going forward and with the Nigerian in the team, Mourinho's men are not as effective . Additionally, Mikel could be away for a substantial period of time at the African Cup of Nations, leaving Chelsea without a natural senior holding midfielder. This is why Matić's presence on the teamsheet is essential.
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