Chelsea fans were impressed with 'The Spider' against Stoke City today.
It may have been an expensive and long old wait - but Nemanja Matic has finally got his first start for Chelsea.
It comes five years, one swap deal and £21 million after he first arrived at the club five years ago - and he put in a performance that showed exactly why Jose Mourinho decided he was worth splurging on to bring back to the club.
Matic was put into the first-team at Stamford Bridge - sitting alongside Frank Lampard in the two more protective midfield positions.
Matic immediately looked the part.
Up against physical players such as Stephen N’Zonzi and Wilson Palacios he more than met them for physical prowess throughout the game.
But on top of that he also showed a turn of pace and ground coverage you would never see from John Obi Mikel.
Matic was all over the pitch and demonstrated why they call him ‘The Spider’ with a few reaching tackles that left Stephen Ireland and Marko Arnautovic particulary bemused.
The performance of Oscar ahead of him perhaps distracted from his display - but the stats did not lie.
His 89% pass accuracy bettered Lampard and Oscar’s and was one of the best on the field - while his tally of five tackles was the most put in by a Chelsea player.
It was not a perfect performance. His positional sense will come in time - but he was on occasions caught square in the middle of the park.
That will develop as he becomes used to playing alongside his central midfield partner, likely to be Ramires and not Lampard, more often than not.
He certainly covered ground though - and any concerns over him struggling physically with the ‘more demanding’ Premier League standard were dispelled.
He looked quick and on point for the entire 90 minutes - and for a player in that position, you want him to be out on the pitch until the final whistle so that is definitely another bonus to this class performer.
Chelsea fans were certainly impressed, and you can see why - he is just what they need in the heart of the park, and he can only get better.
Here is the Twitter reaction to his performance…
I've been impressed with Matic, Goes to show how much a holding midfielder can have a difference on our style of play. Fantastic buy.— TweetChelseaFC (@TweetChelseaFC) January 26, 2014
Matic makes everything look like a stroll in the park. Ice cool.— Frank Lampard UK (@FrankLampardUK) January 26, 2014
Matic's legs are like five miles long each, he's constantly breaking up play with his reach.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) January 26, 2014
Matic is a breath of fresh air in the centre, he is supremely quick & aware in the transitioning phase, creates time & space for forwards!— Brendan Naiker (@BrendanN37) January 26, 2014
Impressed with Chelsea's 1st half. 2nd was a bit 'mhh' but saw it through. Matic looks good. Tall, strong, simple midfielder. Perfect blend.— Ryan Everitt (@everitt_ryan) January 26, 2014
All we need is a top class striker now, MATIC is a machine.— FxckYoFRESH (@MasterDRAXLER) January 26, 2014
Matic nicknamed The Spider. The big man in the middle was everywhere helping out. He makes such a difference to us already.— 'd3' (@TheBeastD3) January 26, 2014
Matic oozed class— Israel josiah (@MillsRomeo) January 26, 2014
Matic is freaking awesome!! So happy we've signed him!— Black_Lip_Bastard✌ (@ThatNi99aSmallz) January 26, 2014
image: © Yoca91