Nemanja Matić debut analysis: Manchester United's midfield maestro

Manchester United hammered West Ham 4-0 yesterday at Old Trafford, with new signing Nemanja Matić making a huge impact.

Nemanja Matić debut analysis: Manchester United's midfield maestro
Matic in action. (Photo: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty)

José Mourinho’s starting line-up against West Ham United only featured two new players, but the difference from last season could not have been more striking.

Manchester United seemed to be back to their best, playing with a flare and a purpose. Fans got to enjoy United’s biggest win since 2014 and it appears that there is more to come.

Matić's first win as a red

Nemanja Matić signed for United from Chelsea for a hefty fee of £40 million last month, and already he is showing his worth. Matić helped his side to a 4-0 win over West Ham on Sunday, putting in a stunning performance for his new team.

Romelu Lukaku scored a brace on his Premier League debut for the Red Devils, with Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba finishing off The Hammers.  

If one player stood out on Sunday, it was Matić. He didn’t score two debut goals like Lukaku, but his contribution was as just as important.

The Serbian played as a holding midfielder which allowed his midfield partner Pogba a little more freedom. He strung together 69 passes, more than anyone else on the field. Matić's doubters were all sent back into hiding as he played a key part in three of United's four goals.

Defensive impact

For a majority of the game Matić sat just in front of the defence as a deep playmaker. This allowed full backs Daley Blind and Antonio Valencia to get a little bit further forward knowing that Matić is there to tidy up if he is called upon.

Matić won 77% of his challenges and recovered possession nine times. This left former United man Javier Hernandez out of the game for the most part, meaning he had to go into the midfield to receive the ball.

Chicharito only managed two shots throughout the game, neither troubling goalkeeper David De Gea.

Matić appears to be a very good signing for Manchester United. He has a strong presence, something United haven’t had for the past four or five years.

The Red Devils play Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday in their next game, with Matić sure to start there too.