How Chelsea's Nemanja Matic dominated fellow midfielders in Liverpool clash

Nemanja Matic

Nemanja Matic dominated again on Saturday as he outshone his Chelsea colleagues as well as Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.

Given the money spent at Chelsea over recent years and the world-class squad they have been able to assemble, you have to be a bit special for the ‘Special One’ himself to single you out for high praise.

Nemanja Matic has, however, been identified as the cream of the Stamford Bridge crop by manager Jose Mourinho following another colossal performance in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League victory over Liverpool.

The Portuguese tactician said: “He is the best player.

“He was signed in the most difficult market - which is for the players who are coming in mid-season, so the last half of the season was for him to improve, not adaptation, as he was a Chelsea player before, but to improve.

“At this moment he is a giant, not for his size but for the way he plays.”

Ranking Matic above the likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea pecking order is a bold call, but the numbers back up Mourinho’s claim that a man brought back to west London for a second spell in January – at a cost of some £21 million – is very much the best in the business.

Still only 26 years of age, Matic dominated at Anfield over the weekend as he outshone some of his more illustrious club colleagues as well as leading lights in the opposing ranks – with even Steven Gerrard struggling to live with the Serbian man-mountain.

  Duel WonWon TackleTotal TackleAccurate PassTotal PassFwd PassInterceptionTouchesMins Played
Nemanja Matic 6 2 4 42 50 21 3 73 90
Cesc Fàbregas 4 1 3 35 41 14 1 60 90
Ramires 3 1 1 19 20 6 0 28 54
  Duel WonWon TackleTotal TackleAccurate PassTotal PassFwd PassInterceptionTouchesMins Played
Emre Can 5 1 2 36 42 9 0 53 70
Jordan Henderson 4 2 2 36 47 15 0 62 90
Steven Gerrard 2 0 1 61 70 26 3 88 90

Matic came out on top in more duels than any of his midfield rivals, as well as putting in more tackles.

His passing, in terms of numbers and accuracy, bettered that of those around him in blue, with it surprising to find that he had greater control of proceedings than Fabregas - a player renowned for his playmaking abilities.

Only Gerrard can compete with Matic when it comes to getting on the ball and looking for a teammate, but he ultimately found himself on the losing side as Chelsea were able to get the job done and stretch their unbeaten start to the season at the top of the table.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has already conceded that it is difficult to see anybody stopping the Blues’ march towards the top-flight crown and, if Matic continues to control the middle of the park and Costa’s remarkable form in front of goal continues, it is difficult to argue against him.

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