Nemanja Matic's top team-mates XI
Nemanja Matic recently celebrated his 200th Premier League appearance, during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Serbian, who played 123 times in the top flight for Chelsea, has now accumulated over 100 matches in all competitions since switching to the red side of Manchester in 2017.
Just last week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that Matic is currently playing some of his best football since his move to Old Trafford, so what better time is there for us to take a look at Nemanja’s top team-mates, from across his successful career?
Thibaut Courtois (99 appearances with Matic)
The Belgian goalkeeper was signed by the Blues in the summer of 2011, six months after Matic had originally left the Stamford Bridge club for Benfica. By the time Courtois had returned to England after three stellar seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, however, Matic was back – and the pair went on to claim two titles in three campaigns before Nemanja moved to United.
Cesar Azpilicueta (131), Gary Cahill (128), Branislav Ivanovic (151), Ashley Young (73)
Three members of that double title-winning defence are represented in our XI, with Branislav Ivanovic being Matic’s most common team-mate of all. The solid and dependable Cesar Azpilicueta features at right-back, with Gary Cahill partnering Ivanovic in the middle – as he did to such great effect at the Bridge for many a year. On the left, is our first United representative. Ashley Young, who left the Reds after almost a decade in January, and has appeared alongside Matic on 73 occasions, including in the 2018 FA Cup final – against, funnily enough, Chelsea.
Paul Pogba (69), Csec Fabregas (105)
With Nemanja usually occupying a sitting midfield slot himself, there are relatively few midfielders who have appeared alongside him on more than 50 occasions. One such player is Cesc Fabregas, who won two titles and a League Cup when playing with Nemanja. Alongside the Spanish technician is Matic’s current club-mate, Paul Pogba – and we know just how well the pair can complement each other, having seen it first-hand recently, in the 3-0 wins over Sheffield United and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Eden Hazard (136), Marcus Rashford (93), Anthony Martial (90); Costa (103)
The solidity and technical ability offered by the backline and midfield respectively allow us to really go to town with the attackers in this side, in what is nominally a 4-2-3-1 formation, but one which could also be read as 4-2-4. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who have both been regulars since Matic was unveiled as a United man in 2017, complement former Chelsea great Eden Hazard in an explosive-looking trio, behind the fiery Diego Costa. Hazard and Costa were the two main men in Chelsea’s 2015 and 2017 Premier League triumphs, scoring 70 goals between them as the Blues cantered to victory in both campaigns.
MATIC’S FULL XI:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Young; Pogba, Fabregas; Rashford, Hazard, Martial; Costa.
ON THE BENCH
As with previous incarnations of Top Team-Mates, the 11 players listed aren’t necessarily those who made the most appearances alongside Matic – we’ve made some allowances based on position. The likes of Willian (128 apps), John Terry (98) and David De Gea (96) are therefore unfortunate to have to settle for a place on the bench. That experienced trio are accompanied by Matic’s former Benfica team-mate Ezequiel Garay (85), current United star Jesse Lingard (80), ex-Chelsea man Oscar (88) plus Romelu Lukaku (78), who was briefly at the Blues around the same time as Matic and later joined up with the Serbian at Old Trafford.
Stats courtesy of www.transfermarkt.com.