3 reasons why Matic's time at Manchester United is coming to an end
Three defeats in four matches have left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United dumped out of the FA Cup, and have dealt them a huge blow in the race for the top 4.
The Solskjaer fairy tale was eventually going to come to an end. Just days after the club announced the Norwegian's appointment as permanent manager, United eked out an unconvincing 2-1 win over Watford, and lost at Molineux to Wolves by the same scoreline.
Nemanja Matic in particular was dull against the Hornets. Pogba and Herrera had poor games as well, and as a result, Watford's midfield trio of Doucoure, Hughes and Capoue controlled the midfield.
Matic was one of the Red Devils' best outfield players in his debut season, but the Serbian has been very underwhelming this time around.
The 30-year-old was one among several under-performing stars in the first half of the campaign under Mourinho. Jose's relationship with Matic, having also managed him at Chelsea, was probably the only thing that kept him in the team.
Solskjaer's arrival provided a spark to him, as it did to most of the players. He started performing at the level that fans had gotten used to last season, before a dip in form coincided with United's recent defeats to Arsenal and Wolves.
There's no doubt that he's a fantastic player when he's at his best, but he's starting to look like he's past his prime. Here are 3 reasons why Matic's time at Old Trafford is coming to an end:
#3 He has lost his pace
Matic has never been the fastest player to begin with, relying more on his positioning and tactical intelligence to break up play, but you need a decent amount of pace to survive in the Premier League, and he seems to have lost that this season.
Following the World Cup in Russia, Matic underwent an abdominal surgery during United's pre-season tour in America that ruled him out for the first few games of the season.
It was a nagging issue that he'd carried over from the previous season, and one that had to be addressed quickly.
With teams in the bottom half of the Premier League increasingly relying on a high press to win possession, Matic found it hard to cope when the intensity was raised by a notch.
Speed and agility are required to evade a press, and Matic's lack of those qualities makes him vulnerable in the moments after he wins possession.