Many have already tipped Chelsea to go the whole Premier League season unbeaten and clinch the title in style. Ever since the 2004 Arsenal tram that did exactly that, no other squad has come close to going a 38 game campaign without defeat.
Jose Mourinho has built a squad with strength in depth, youth and experience which has the perfect balance to go through a 10 month spell without a single league loss.
The Portuguese gaffer has instilled belief in his players, and the players are showing this off with a new breed of confidence.
Everything midfield wizard Eden Hazard does turns to gold, while the centre back partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill is as strong as ever. New-signing Diego Costa also knows where the back of the net is despite the Spanish talisman being a doubt for more or less every game, while fellow Spaniard Cesc Fabregas has arrived at Stamford Bridge making many at former club Arsenal question why they refused to take up the option of resigning the midfield maestro after a series of fine displays for the Blues.
Playing alongside Fabregas has been Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic. Despite the goals of Costa, the brilliance of Hazard and the reliability of Terry and Cahill, Matic has arguably been Chelsea’s best player so far this season. After being part of the deal that brought David Luiz to the title chasers three years ago, Mourinho sought fit to rectify what he obviously felt was a huge mistake when he returned to the club as manager last season, re-signing the Matic in the January transfer window.
Paying so much to bring the player back to the club that they had let leave for so little represented a massive risk for Chelsea. However, such has been the level of Matic’s performances that the decision has never been in question.
After spending three years with Benfica, Matic has returned to the Premier League a more accomplished, polished and mature player. Part of what makes the midfielder so good is his ability to read the game. His defensive qualities allow Fabregas to get into more advanced positions and make the assists that have become a hallmark of his game.
Matic has already improved on the the much-celebrated form he offered on return to Chelsea last season. So far this season Matic has made more tackles per game and improved his passing accuracy from 84.8% to 86.1%.
Matic often fails to get the credit he truly deserves, and on his day, is the most influential player on the pitch. In many aspects, the one club that need Matic the most is Arsenal.
Missing a tall, aggressive holding midfielder, Matic would make a huge difference in that Gunners side. If Chelsea are to win the Premier League title, and go unbeaten, as well as achieving greatness in the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup, then it’s essential that Matic remains fit throughout.