Chelsea’s most important player against Manchester United

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Chelsea fans will be sweating over the fitness of their strike force in the run up to the stand out fixture in England over the weekend.

You might imagine that we would get categoric news about Diego Costa and Loic Remy on Friday but Jose Mourinho, the ultimate tactician and Machiavellian, will keep his cards close to his chest.

But, while the fitness of the strike force is of course important, the crucial player for Chelsea on Sunday is a midfielder.

He’s been imperious all season and is a classic Mourinho signing. And he’s particularly useful away from home. It is of course Nemanja Matic.

The 26-year-old Serbian has been an absolute revelation since he re-joined Chelsea and seems to be improving all the time. He’s an archetypal Jose Mourinho player in as much as he’s big strong and physical.

Matic provides the sort of muscle which Arsenal, for example, lack in their midfield. But he does so much more than that. On the ground he’s got great feet, passes crisply and will score you the odd goal. He’s really mobile and athletic and is one of the most selfless players that you will see in the Premier league – in short, he allows others to play. He gives the team that solidity and shield in front of the defence to give his more creative peers free license to get forward when they have the ball.

Manchester United are going to throw absolutely everything at Chelsea, especially in the first half hour at Old Trafford on Sunday. Players like Matic are the perfect fire fighters for this sort of scenario and can nullify the threat of creators like Di Maria, Falcao and Robin van Persie.

He can’t do it all on his own of course. He will need the rest of the team to support and play well also. But we can easily imagine Matic being the player of the match on Sunday – particularly if Chelsea come away with a clean sheet.

Chelsea fans: how important is Matic in your estimation?

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