By 90Min
September 20, 2017

Nemanja Matic divided opinion among fans when he joined Manchester United at the end of July, with many keen on seeing a more dynamic player arrive instead - Monaco's Fabinho was just one such example. But the Serbian was signed for a specific purpose by Jose Mourinho and the stats already show that United are reaping the rewards.

As the defensive midfield shield, it is Matic's job to win the ball back and pass it on. That is not necessarily in an all-action way like former Chelsea colleague N'Golo Kante, but simply by having the vision and intelligence to always be in the right place at the right time.

Criticised for his age (29) and a lack of pace, Matic arguably couldn't have made a better start.

After his latest 'Man of the Match' display against Everton on Sunday, Matic leads the rest of the United squad in as many as six important statistical categories.

With five Premier League games under his belt for his new club, Matic has attempted more tackles than any other United player - his 12 is ahead of Antonio Valencia's 10. He has also been successful in winning the ball in nine of those tackles, another squad high.

As far as interceptions are concerned, he has made 10, this time a joint squad high.

Matic has made 372 passes, 332 of which have found their intended target. United's next best passer is Paul Pogba on 309 pass attempts for the season, although it must be said that the Frenchman was forced to miss Sunday's game through injury.

Michael Regan/GettyImages

In terms of touches of the ball, Matic has had 457, another leading mark at Old Trafford - 99 of those touches came in his 'Man of the Match' display against Everton alone when no other player on the pitch had as much contact with the ball as Matic did.

Matic is outperforming his United team-mates in every part of his game. Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have made the headlines, but one could easily argue none of their excellent work would have been possible without Matic doing his job so effectively.

This is a player who has won two Premier League titles in the last three seasons and has been lauded for his contribution in each of those triumphs. Yet his performances so far this season have led Jose Mourinho to now declare: "I have never seen Matic playing so well."

Stats sourced from Sky Sports, Premier League, Man

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