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Keep, Sell, Loan: Nemanja Matic's 2016-17 season in review

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - The Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Appearances: 35 starts (5 as substitute).
Minutes: 2,696 in Premier League; 451 in domestic cups.
Statistics (per 90 minutes, Premier League): 61 passes attempted (88% completed); 1.24 tackles won (37.5% success rate); 1.84 interceptions.

The 2015-16 season was a particularly dreadful time for Nemanja Matić. As one of the key players in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning campaign the season before, his inconsistent performances in the new season lead (in part) to not only José Mourinho’s sacking but even to the re-emergence of Mikel John Obi, who was preferred by interim manager Guus Hiddink for most of the second-half of the season.

Matić’s frustrations kept building throughout the season — including a rare sight of getting subbed off after coming on as a substitute earlier in the game — as were made perfectly clear to all observers with his “celebration” of the goal he scored against Sunderland at the end of that season. Matić’s looked halfway out the door already before new head coach Antonio Conte managed to convince him to stay and play a key role in the Chelsea midfield once more.

As it turned out, Conte’s call and Matić’s decision to stay did prove instrumental in the Blues collecting a second Premier League title in three years. The arrival of N’Golo Kanté lessened the defensive burden on Matić, which also allowed some of his more attacking instincts to flourish. At one point, he was one of the league's best when it came to assists, recording six of them from August to November last year.

However, his performances in the second half of the season were not quite at the same level as in the first. He started losing minutes and starts to Cesc Fàbregas. Matić was by no means a liability, but was much more easily replaced in the lineup. But at the end of the day, he was still a key figure in our Premier League winning effort.

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Good
Everton seems to be Matić's favourite opponent, with the midfielder putting in great performances both home and away against the Toffees as Chelsea hung eight goals on them without a reply.

The Bad
Like for many in the squad, the season ended on down note for Matić against Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Dominated by Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, he last barely an hour before making way for Fàbregas.

The Best
Before the breakdown in the final, Matić scored an absolute stunner against Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinal to seal the win for Chelsea. The thunderous effort will remain as one of the best goals in the team's recent history.

Which lead to another memorable moment...


Given the recent developments, namely not going on the pre-season tour, training alone at Cobham, and of course the arrival of his like-for-like substitute in AS Monaco's Tiemoué Bakayoko, Matić’s future appears to lie away from Stamford Bridge for the second time in his career.

But in an ideal world, he would certainly be a keep. A midfield core of Bakayoko, Matić, Fàbregas, and the one and only N’Golo Kanté could certainly compete with the world's best.


What would you do with Nemanja Matic next season?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    (322 votes)
  • 20%
    Sell him for the money (United)
    (262 votes)
  • 55%
    Sell him for the hopes of landing Alex Sandro (Juventus)
    (714 votes)
1298 votes total Vote Now

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