Should Fabregas replace Oscar as a Number 10?

The Blues are struggling to find consistency in their last few games. In the second half of this season, Mourinho’s men have lost the sharpness and even the threat they possessed at the beginning of the campaign.

Yes, they will probably go on to win the Premier League, but not in the fashion most fans expected them to. If it weren’t for Manchester City’s poor performances, the Blues would not have the luxurious 6-point lead they posses over their title rivals. The players have dropped in form in recent times. The dominant and impeccable team that started the season seems to be fading away. This has forced Jose Mourinho to rethink and make a few changes in the attack.

Over the last few weeks, it has emerged that Mourinho intends to play Fabregas upfront behind the striker, instead of Oscar who is the designated number ten. It must be noted that both these world class players bring different sets of skills into the game.

Let’s take a look at what Oscar and Fabregas offer when they play behind the striker.

Oscar dos Santos:

The Brazilian is enduring a post – Christmas dip. He has been unable to find the net for two months since he did so twice in the 5-0 evisceration of Swansea City on January 17, with his last assist coming against Bradford. The Brazilian has scored 6 goals in 24 games, assisting 7 times in this season. Unlike the wingers, Hazard and Willian, Oscar hasn’t been the forward type, he is often seen venturing deep rather than making crucial runs in the highly advanced positions. This causes Fabregas to push up to help break the oppositions defense, leaving Nemanja Matic a lot to do as a holding midfielder.

The 23 year old does posses great work rate and paddles back to defend, but he seems to hide during big games and has turned slow and ineffective upfront, this being one of the reasons Mourinho is using Oscar as an impact substitute rather than starting him.

Cesc Fabregas:

The Spanish international signed for a fee of £30 million, has had a blinding first half of this season. Playing alongside Nemanja Matic at the base of a 4-2-3-1 formation, Fabregas provides creativity and link between the defense and attack that wasn’t previously present. With 16 assists and 2 goals, he has proved to be an important player for this squad.

Just like Oscar, Fabregas is going through his own post-Christmas dip. His accuracy has worsened (86.8 to 82.2) and his minutes per chance created has increased. (27.6 to 41.4). Although the Spaniard starts in defensive midfield alongside Matic, Fabregas has always been a natural number ten. The Spaniard scored 13 goals in all competitions last season in the number ten role.

fab heat mapFabregas heat maps vs Southampton away 28/12/14 (left) and home 15/03/15 (right)

The map on the left shows the Spaniard in a number 10 position, where he had plenty of sharp through balls from the edge of the box on a regular basis, creating plenty of chances and piercing the Southampton defense with ease.

While, the map on the right is the 1-1 draw against Southampton at the Bridge. Playing alongside Matic, the sharp through balls were absent and he barely entered the final third of the pitch.

With Oscar’s form missing the spark it once had, it’s perhaps time to push Fabregas up the order and bring a player like Ramires in the pivot next to a holding midfielder. Unlike the Spaniard, Ramires wouldn’t be bombing the opposition in the final third of the pitch and can sit back and derail opposing attacks. This will give Chelsea more natural defensive stability and will be much more compact.

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Edited By: Harshal Ahire

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