Chelsea have moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League after defeating Tottenham.
The game at Stamford bridge was a tale of two halves as the Blues struggled in the first half and then comprehensively took over the second half to win the game.
Tim Sherwood deployed a five man midfield against Chelsea and that made life tough for their Chelsea counterparts. Emmanuel Adebayor often dropped deep to support the midfield and this tactic smothered the Chelsea midfielders’ creativity, as a result of which Spurs enjoyed a larger share of ball possession and were ever-present in Chelsea’s half for the first 45 minutes.
Jose Mourinho opted to keep Oscar on the bench, as Frank Lampard started in midfield along with Nemanja Matic for Chelsea. The Englishman endured a rather frustrating first half as he was replaced by Oscar at half-time. The Brazilian’s introduction to the team brought an added energy and more quality on the ball.
The substitution proved pivotal as Oscar enabled Chelsea to retain more ball possession and galvanised the team to script a turnaround. The Brazilian made 37 passes in the game completing 32 of them, whereas, Lampard only made 22 passes before getting substituted. It can be seen in the following passing map that Lampard made most of his passes in Chelsea’s own half, whereas, Oscar provided more support going forward and majority of his passes were made in Tottenham’s half.
Lampard was certainly not at his usual best against Spurs as he hardly presented any threat going forward, the picture becomes more gloomy when we take a closer look at the passes made by him in the opposition’s final third.
The Englishman made only 8 passes in the opposition’s final third with only 2 of them successfully finding a Chelsea player. On the other hand Oscar displayed a better passing range in Tottenham’s final third with 11 successful passes and 18 passes in total.
Now moving away from individual comparison, let us have a look at what Oscar brought to the team as a player in the second half. It is interesting to see that 16 passes out of total 69 passes made by Chelsea in the final third in the second half were made by the Brazilian, accounting for almost one-fourth of the total passes. The percentage soars up to over one-fourth in the case of successful passes made, as 11 out of 42 successful passes were made by the attacking midfielder. A graphical representation of all passes made by Chelsea in the final third for the second half is presented below.
His numbers for passes made across the pitch is equally impressive when compared to all other midfielders deployed by Jose Mourinho in that game. The table below provides the data on the total passes, successful passes and success rate of the passes made by all Chelsea midfielders against Tottenham.
Even after missing the complete first half, the Brazilian made an impressive 37 passes in the game, only 3 less than the mercurial Eden Hazard. He also had an impressive completion rate of 86%, only behind fellow Brazilians Willian and Ramires.
The passing contribution played a significant role in turning the tide for Chelsea. Oscar’s quality on the ball and incisive passing were crucial as Chelsea pushed aggressively in the second half for the elusive first goal. The table toppers registered a disappointing 48% ball possession in front of their home crowd in the first half but with the addition of Oscar, the team dominated with 58% of ball possession in the last 45 minutes.
Chelsea stepped-up their game in the second half, eventually winning the match 4-0 with goals from Samuel Eto’o, Eden Hazard and a brace from Demba Ba. Chelsea had nine goal attempts in the second half, up from only two efforts in the first half.
The Brazilian was instrumental behind scripting a memorable victory for Chelsea and the Blues’ fans would be expecting more of the same from Oscar as Chelsea enter the business end of the season.
This article first appeared at SPEAKING MY MIND