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
Nemanja Matić vs. Arsenal.— Breaking The Lines (@breakingIines) February 7, 2017
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.
Still, Matić has earned his spot in Chelsea's lineup. He has been the best midfielder in England this season.— Breaking The Lines (@breakingIines) February 7, 2017
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.
Not many players can claim to be as complete as Matić. Superb in big games, proven in two leagues, strong, metronome, mobile, proven winner.— Breaking The Lines (@breakingIines) February 7, 2017
What do we think? Well justified or over the top?