Premier League action resumes this weekend and all eyes will be on the one fixture that tops the list - Chelsea vs Manchester United. The clash at Stamford Bridge could see two former Blues' Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata feature for Manchester United, both who had different ends to their Chelsea careers. While Spanish creator Mata remains a fan favourite, the same cannot be said for the Serbian destroyer Matic.
Nemanja Matic reunited with former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Manchester United after signing for a reported fee of €44 million. However, the transfer came a year later than Matic had been hoping for, but stayed put as a central midfielder in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation and ended up winning the Premier League title. In fact, Juventus were keen on signing Matic, but Antonio Conte brushed off those rumours saying that Matic remained important to his plans, but that made no difference to Serbian midfielder. Hence, talks over a new contract stalled.
When Jose Mourinho urged Manchester United to splash the cash to sign Matic, there was nothing Chelsea could do to keep him. Matic made it clear he wanted to join Manchester United and trained on his own in the first few weeks of the pre-season in the summer of 2017 rather than travelling on a Far East Tour with the rest of the squad. Ironically, Mourinho was the chief of Matic’s greatest humiliation in his Chelsea career, substituting him in and then off after 28 minutes on the pitch in the 1-3 defeat at Stamford Bridge to Southampton in 2015.
Nemanja Matic was a vital part of Chelsea’s last two title-winning sides, yet never got the credit for his steely presence in the midfield. Matic had grown increasingly unhappy about only being asked to comment about his team-mates’ displays and the Chelsea officials asked journalists to raise a few questions about his performance after a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
When the reporter duly obliged and began the exchange by asking Matic about his form, the former Benfica man responded with pointed surprise and said that he did not whether he was at his best in Chelsea. However, he added that he always gave everything for the team and said that sometimes he’s better, while it’s not enough sometimes.