One of the two Ligue 1 Central Midfielders of the Year is Blaise Matuidi:Impregnable. That is possibly the best way to describe Blaise Matuidi this season. A player who has worked extremely hard to reach the heights he has. Often lauded as the best defensive midfielder around last season, the Frenchman was the driving force behind PSG’s title win and success in the Champions League. He capped off his season in style captaining France against Uruguay in an international friendly this month.
Matuidi’s abilities to hold onto the ball and superb tackling skills meant he was perfectly suited to the defensive midfielder role from an early age. He has also filled in defensively, often when offensive set pieces were taken this season due to his rather average aerial ability, rendering him not an important target man from dead ball situations. Most importantly, he was a player that Ancelotti could always rely on in that area, unlike the headstrong Marco Verratti or the injury prone Thiago Motta.
His pass completion rate in Ligue 1 last season was 88.6%, no mean feat. If there is one part of his game that Matuidi has improved upon in recent seasons it is the ability to focus constantly for 90 minutes. The high passing completion rate is testament to this improvement. Matuidi also suffered more fouls than he conceded this season, showing that despite his eagerness to lunge in and win the ball cleanly (which he often does, making him the successful defensive midfielder he is) he is actually subjected to more foul play than he causes.
Evidence of this is the fact that he only picked up 4 yellow cards in Ligue 1 last season (excluding the red card he received against Nice), which clearly shows the clean manner in which Matuidi approaches his tackling and winning the ball back.
Blaise Matuidi has made some rather lofty comments on his future recently, which will concern PSG. However, with the money they can offer him and the opportunity to grow on Europe’s biggest stage in the Champions League, a move away certainly looks unlikely. Now we must watch the 25 year old as he continues in his pivotal roles for both France and PSG and see if he really can become one of the best defensive midfielders to date.