Nemanja Matic has been lauded for his performance against Manchester City during Chelsea's Monday night 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
While Jose Mourinho's preparations, Eden Hazard's directness and the defensive strength of the club's rearguard all excelled, Matic's authority in the centre of midfield allowed those ahead of him and behind him to flourish.
As the data table below demonstrates, Matic had 55 touches of the football in his first full 90 minute match since his return to the Stamford Bridge club, enjoyed a passing accuracy of 85% and made a defensive contribution (interception, clearance, tackle or duel) once every 3.6 minutes on average.
But how does this compare to the first full 90 minutes completed by other defensive-minded midfielders who have been bought within the past half-season?
Marouane Fellaini, like Matic, completed his first full match for Manchester United against City yet had far more touches on the football (27 more), had a higher passing accuracy (92%) but completed fewer defensive actions - once every 12.85 minutes.
And, as highlighted in the table below, City's Fernandinho had even more touches on the ball than either Fellaini or Matic when the 28-year-old Brazilian participated in his first full 90 minutes for the club against Newcastle United.
Like Fellaini, Fernandinho's accuracy when it came to passing was high - 92%, but completed a defensive action every 10 minutes on average.
Arsenal hound-dog Mathieu Flamini had the most touches on his full 90 minute debut for Arsenal at the start of the season, against Sunderland, he also completed 88% of his passes but, like Fernandinho and Fellaini, did not commit to as many defensive contributions as Matic, as the Gunner registered one every 9 minutes on average.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald