How would Chelsea fare without the Brazilian?
Oscar has been facing the flak for his recent ineffective performances, and should he be shown the door, here are some options of how Chelsea may line up without the baby-faced midfielder.
Oscar’s recent dip in form and Mourinho’s criticism of Oscar after the match against Stoke City in the previous weekend has fueled rumours that Oscar could leave at the end of the season. “I don’t think he had a bad performance, I just think he was not good enough, which is a huge difference,” said Mourinho. Oscar was left out of the starting eleven even during Chelsea’s visit to Loftus Road on Sunday, but played a decent enough cameo when brought on at 56 minutes to replace Ramires. Talks of Oscar being involved in an exchange deal to Juventus or Atletico Madrid, with hot properties Paul Pogba and Koke heading the other way to London, has been doing the rounds recently. Whether or not Chelsea can bring in Pogba or Koke is a matter of uncertainty. However, if Oscar were to leave Chelsea, we would certainly see some changes in the formation of the Blues on the pitch next season. The way Chelsea approach each match would vary considerably.
As of now, whenever Oscar starts for Chelsea, he lines up right behind the striker. The so called number 10 position, from where he has racked up six goals this season. But whenever Oscar was dropped to the bench, Fabregas has played behind the striker. Jose Mourinho clearly feels that Fabregas, who is topping the assists charts this season by a mile, has goals in him. Perhaps he can be even more effective up front, chipping in with goals. With another Brazilian more than capable of providing cover in central midfield in Ramires, Fabregas might just make a tremendous switch to what has been Oscar’s dominion so far.
Fabregas has scored only thrice but has sixteen assists to his name so far this season. That’s way more than any other player in the Premier League. The fact remains that almost all of them had come when he started at the base of midfield, right beside Matic. While that position may not have seen him contributing much to goals, he has undoubtedly contributed to a lot of goals scored by Costa, Hazard and others. In that case, it might be sensible to keep him in central midfield, a position that allowed him to have a tremendous first season at Chelsea. Taking this perspective allows for the speculation to bring someone else to the number 10 position, someone like Willian. A noteworthy fact is that Willian made his name playing as the playmaker for Shakhtar Donetsk back in his days in Russian League. While Willian is deployed on the right of the midfield trio; evidence has it that he is more than capable of playing behind the striker.
Last weekend, when Oscar was substituted at half time against Stoke City, Willian played down the midfield, running his feet into the ground. Making runs, finding wingers with neat passes and showing good work rate whenever the team was off position, Willian gave a good account of himself. It was like the other Brazilian was justifying why Mourinho has come to rely on him so heavily. Having played previously in the same position thrice this season, Willian even scored 2 goals while playing in the number 10 position, once against Aston Villa right after Oscar was substituted, and then that match-winning strike against Everton at 89 minutes at Stamford Bridge. With Juan Cuadrado available at the right wing, where he played against Stoke City, Willian might find himself as the new playmaker for Chelsea. That still rests as to whether or not Oscar heads towards the exit door.
According to the Express, Juventus are willing to buy Oscar. In case Chelsea do get their hands on Pogba or Koke or any other midfielder, Mourinho may revert to the more traditional and more attacking 4-3-3, with Hazard and Willian/Cuadrado on the two wings. Fabregas and the new midfielder in central midfield, while Matic sits right in front of the defense as a half back or perhaps regista. That would allow Hazard play with more freedom, as a 4-3-3 would let him play much higher up the pitch. It would also let Fabregas a lot of space to unlock defenses as well as come in the range of goal to take shots, covering both aspects of his gameplay.
Whether Oscar, a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge, will be sold or not, remains to be seen. Chelsea would definitely bring in a very good replacement in case he is. And no matter whether a new player like Pogba replaces Oscar, or a current man from the squad like Fabregas, with a manager of the ability of Jose Mourinho, the future bodes well for Chelsea Football Club.
On a personal note, the best years of the Brazilian lay ahead of him. The fans adore him and so do I. His performances though need to be more consistent than what they have been so far. Here’s hoping for the best of the little Blue.
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Edited By: Ojas