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If every player in a starting-XI had the tenacity, endeavour, heart and desire of one Blaise Matuidi then you would be looking at a team of champions. The Frenchman has been a revelation this season, ever consistent and undoubtedly Paris Saint-Germain’s player of the season. Yes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will get the plaudits and as well he should as his goals have put us on the verge of a third league title, but in terms of consistency, Matuidi is second to none.
It is amazing just how far the central midfielder has come under Carlo Ancelotti. When the Italian arrived in December 2011, he chopped and changed his teams for fun for the remaining five months of that season. It was understandable really. He was getting to know his players, identifying which areas are strong, which needed strengthening and also adapting to a new style of play in France to get the best out of his tactics. Thiago Motta was brought in from Internazionale to shore up the midfield and cemented a place almost instantly. Matuidi, at that point, was finding himself in and out the team. He never really got a run in the side under Ancelotti in those first few months. After a bright start under Antoine Kombouare who signed him from Saint-Etienne, he picked up a few injuries which stuttered his progress in Paris somewhat.
But after being part of the European Championships last summer with France, he got a full pre-season under his belt as he returned where his coach really got to see his player’s talent. Remarkably though, he did not start the first game of the season at home to Lorient. Instead, Mathieu Bodmer started on the left-hand side of the three-man central midfield with Marco Verratti and Clement Chantome accompanying him. Matuidi came on for Verratti just before the hour-mark and Les Parisiens would end up salvaging a point.
That was the moment that kicked off Matuidi’s vintage season in a PSG shirt. Since then he has completed 90 minutes in all but one game this season – although he did got sent off against Nice in stoppage time last December. He has made that left-hand spot in central midfield his own, bringing the best out of his accomplices such as Marco Verratti who has received a grand education under the 26-year-old’s stewardship.
Matuidi is a combative, energetic player and his stats are certainly worthy of his attributes. He has a pass completion of 88.1% in Ligue 1, completing 1375 out of 1560 passes. In the Champions League, it is even better accumulating a percentage of 90.7%, completing 390 out of 430. In each game he averages around 50 passes, emphasising his integral role at linking up the play in the middle of the park. His role defensively as well is vital, with a total of 105 successful tackles and 110 interceptions. His all round game is just mightily impressive and it is has been vital in PSG’s rise to the top.
It may had taken Ancelotti some time to discover what a gem of a player he has but he is under no illusion as to important he has been. We are on the cusp of the title and the Frenchman has played a big a part as any in putting us in this position. His winner against Troyes was his fourth goal of the campaign and an important one which at time gave us a 10-point lead at the top. Fitting really that with the talisman up top – Zlatan – missing through suspension, it was the ever popular Matudi who earned the headlines.
We all dream of a team of Matuidis!
STATISTICS COURTESY OF WHOSCORED.COM
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