There can be little doubting that an array of Chelsea players have underperformed this season. However, few declines can rival the astonishing fall from grace of defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.
The Serbian has gone from being labeled Jose Mourinho’s ‘monster’ to playing second fiddle to John Obi Mikel whose Chelsea career was seemingly written off only weeks ago.
Matic was once feared as a no-nonsense midfield stalwart but in just eight months he has become a laughing stock. His season has been littered with so many errors that Guus Hiddink simply must bench the calamitous 27-year-old.
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Last season saw Matic regarded as one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League. His consistent and ruthless role in the Chelsea centre was vital in the Blues’ emphatic capture of the league title.
Matic was the chief instigator in a midfield that willingly plucked away at opposition and pushed them aside.
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After being sold, forgotten and exiled to Benfica, Matic had returned and more than proven his worth in England.
However, this season, all the hard work of 2014-15 seems to be forgotten amidst his embarrassing showings. The statistics are truly damning.
In Chelsea’s clash with Everton, Matic was substituted after just 55 minutes due to a weak performance. During this time, the Serbian lost all eight of the tackles and duels he was involved in.
On the contrary, Mikel won nine duels and executed five successful tackles in a comparably immaculate performance.
It was the latest embarrassing incident in an ever-growing collection this season.
The Everton fixture saw the 27-year-old substituted for the fourth time in 21 appearances, something that only happened once across the entirety of last campaign. Moreover, this includes being sent to the bench by Mourinho after just 18 minutes earlier against Southampton in October.
Matic’s passing has simply appeared laboured, his tackling erratic and his defensive nous seems to be well and truly blunted.
The ex-Benfica man has started just twice in Chelsea’s last five matches and this limited game time should continue. If the Blues want success, they should leave out the flopping midfielder until he rediscovers his form.
Besides, the miraculous performances of Mikel shows there is a more suited candidate to be the engine in Chelsea’s midfield. Matic simply can’t cut it at the moment and Hiddink should take action, benching the Serbian and saving his back four in the process.
Should Chelsea look to replace Matic in the summer? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!