Chelsea got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 win against Hull City yesterday, after Newcastle ended their unbeaten streak last weekend. And it is no coincidence that the loss came when midfield enforcer Nemanja Matic was missing.
The powerful Serbian missed the trip to Newcastle as he was suspended and he was greatly missed in the middle of the park as Jose Mourinho watched his side lose for the first time this campaign.
But his return against Hull ensured Chelsea got back to winning ways and remained at the top of the Premier League. The Blues have only conceded one goal in their last six games that Matic has played in.
John Obi Mikel stepped in to replace Matic at Newcastle but the Nigerian is far from the standard of the Serbian, and that is shown by the gulf in class statistically so far this season.
Matic has only missed the one game at Newcastle, and it is no coincidence that the Blues lost for the first time without him.
He is an integral part of the side and arguably the most important player. Not from a goalscoring perspective, but his consistently solid displays in the middle of the pitch give Chelsea the platform to go on and win every game that he plays in.
Any side that goes on to win titles in the modern game needs a solid defensive midfield player to steady the ship all season long.
Former Chelsea star Claude Makelele was probably the man who reinvented the role of a central midfielder under Jose Mourinho ten years ago, and Matic has taken it one step further. He is world-class in his position and Chelsea are unlikely to taste defeat when he’s on the field.
How important is Nemanja Matic for Chelsea – is he their most important player?