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Nemanja Matic has been ‘the best midfielder in England this season’

Matić appreciation week continues.

That’s the bold claim from Breaking The Lines, who seem to be a new tactical analysis venture on the online football media scene looking to obviously make a name for themselves. They even put together this highlights package of Matić’s best plays against Arsenal this past weekend that’s well worth your two minutes and change to watch, keeping in mind that highlights, by definition, are just that, the player at his best. Everyone looks good in their highlights — even central midfielders, who tend to get almost as overlooked as defenders

So that video comes with the verdict that Matić has been the best midfielder in England this season, ahead of even his own teammate N’Golo Kanté. Even the midst of this Matić appreciation week, that seems very bold indeed.

I’m always a little vary of useless adjectives like “best” in these situations. While Matić certainly has been unrecognizable from the bad player that he was for most of the previous season, how does one define best? Best tackler? That’s probably Kanté. Best passer? Let’s go with Fàbregas. Best Twitter hashtag? Best vision, anticipation, positioning? Take your pick.

It’s hard to come up with one single defining quality that would make Matić “the best”, but it’s also hard to come up with a single defining negative quality. Perhaps that’s what makes him best? Good at everything — passing, tackling, movement, vision, etc — and often great at a great many of them as well.

What do we think? Well justified or over the top?

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