ArithMATIC 101: Four ways Mourinho can play the £40m midfielder
The arrival of the latest Manchester United member, Nemanja Matic hardly sets the pulse racing. While Mancunian fans are content with the purchase of the 29-year-old, he hardly checks the box exciting. The Serbian midfielder will certainly improve the midfield options of Manchester United and will most likely slot into the midfield of the Red Devils. We consider different shapes Manchester United could arrange with the gangly midfielder in the side.
With Matic and Ander Herrera in the double-pivot behind, Paul Pogba could provide the perfect platform for the abilities of the World-record signing to shine through. The Frenchman fills a bespoke position behind the hole which best suits his abilities as he’d have space ahead of him to power into and dominate.
Pogba and Herrera worked in tandem most times last season but the feel was that they were being underused without a specialist behind them. With Matic filling the role of the bulwark in front of the defence, both players could flourish as box-to-box midfielders to potentially launch a devastating effect on the opposition.
The knock-on effect of Matic’s signing is that defensive responsibilities for Paul Pogba is no longer an onus. With the Serbian at the base of the midfield, the 24-year old could fill a role in behind £75 million striker, Romelu Lukaku, and Marcus Rashford. This shape allows the Frenchman to be more expressive and could see Jose Mourinho squeeze out more creative juice out of Pogba.
It was supposed that Matic’s signing would signal the end of Fellaini’s three-year stay at Old Trafford but Mourinho has claimed that Felllaini will be staying at the club. Could we see both men feature in the same midfield? Mourinho might be willing to reach for his ultra-defensive and uber-safe playbook against one of the top-sides away from the Old Trafford. Maybe we’d witness the brick wall of Fellaini-Pogba-Matic with Pogba just filtering in sparsely on the creative side? We’ll find out once the season kicks off!