So, with summer transfer window closing down, there has been plenty of talks going on around our Brazilian No.10, Oscar, and if he is good enough to start regularly for us. In this article, I will try to give away some reasons explaining why Oscar is very good fit in the system we try to implement and why it wouldn’t be a good idea to part ways with him just yet.
THE ROLE OF A NUMBER 10
What is the role of a number 10?
Well, traditionally, a number 10 or CAM (Central Attacking Midfielder) is expected to play that role behind the Striker where he assists the players in the box with some clever passes and fantastic actions, breaks down defense with some lovely technical abilities, dictates the play by controlling game from the middle and occasionally chips away with some important goal.
Sounds familiar? Maybe sounds like Juan Mata, right?
Yes, it does. Juan Mata was our most successful and important player in the side before being sold to Manchester United after the return of Mourinho. A fan favorite, Mata was voted the player of the year with 20 goals and 35 assists in one single season before he being offloaded for 37M pounds in the January 2014. 20 goals and 35 assists! That sounds unbelievable! Right?
So what went wrong? I will tell you what went wrong!
Before the return of Mourinho, we used to play in a system where pressing the opposition consistently wasn’t an issue. Juan Mata had the freedom to do his stuff upfront, racking up assists and goals while, we played a low block at the back, and so the attacking player didn’t have to deal with the constant responsibility of tracking back and helping the defense.
It all changed though after the return of “the special one”. With the promise of playing some beautiful, attacking football, Mourinho implemented a system where everyone was given a responsibility to track back and help the defense when the opposition side had the ball in our half. More so, the Portuguese also implemented the high pressing system where the attacking players had the job of pressing the opposition high up the pitch and force them to commit mistakes in their own half. Obviously, playing in this system required a good deal of Stamina, and this is where Mata was replaced by the energetic Oscar.
Mourinho had the following to say about the situation concerning the two CAM’S during the start of the season:
“Oscar is my No 10 and, if somebody tells me that Oscar is not Chelsea’s best player since the beginning of the season, I would have to disagree”.
And so it was quite established that it would be Oscar who will be operating as the primary No. 10 in place of the Spaniard, and we all know how that ended up with Mata!
THE ROLE OF OSCAR IN THE SIDE
What is the role of Oscar in the high pressing system we play in? If I say: he is the reason we can implement the high pressing system, I wouldn’t be lying. And that’s why I think it’s very difficult that Mourinho would let him go in the summer transfer window. There is simply no other player in the side who can press as consistently and tenaciously so high up the pitch as the baby-faced Brazilian.
We normally play in a 4-2-3-1 system with Matic and Fabregas filling up the CM role while, Oscar slots in the No.10 with Hazard and Willian on his either side.
Now, what we do as a team is press the opposition high up the pitch and force them to commit mistakes. While doing so, we play a high line where both of our CB’s are quite high up the pitch, covering for the CM’s who are in the opposition half pressing the opposition in their own half. A high pressing only works when the whole side is doing it in the right way. For example, if our CB’s doesn’t cover for our CM’s while they are further higher up the pitch, a lot of spaces will be available in the midfield for the opposition team to run into. That’s why, a high pressing only works when the whole team is on the same paddle. And there is no doubt that Oscar is the anchor, the main man who makes it possible for our team to implement this system. I will give you another example:
FABREGAS AS NUMBER 10 – WHY IS IT A BAD IDEA?
There have been a few matches this season where Fabregas has played in that hole behind the Striker. What was the common theme in all these matches? We really struggled to put pressure on the opposition side for obvious reasons.
A player like Fabregas is a genius, a maestro in the midfield, no doubt about that. But even the genius struggled to impose himself while playing in the NO. 10 role in our system. The game against Manchester City at the start of the season and even the one against PSG at Bridge when Oscar was taken off in the second half, are a couple of examples to this. Our system requires the CAM to run the hard yard just like Oscar does. “Here There and Everywhere” is the term which is used to describe the Brazilian, when he is in full flow.
Sure, his goals and assists columns doesn’t have the monstrous stats of someone like Mata to show for but the Brazilian does stuff that is mostly invisible to a common fan’s eye. His interchanging play with Fabregas is also one of the main reasons Fabregas has so many assists to his name this season. We all know how Fabregas loves to go forward and help out in attack but that in turns leaves us vulnerable in the midfield with a chance of being rolled over if the opposition starts a counter-attack. However, what we have seen all season is that Oscar quietly drops deep alongside Matic whenever Fabregas sets out for his attacking expeditions and thus maintains the shape of the team. Besides, this confuses the opposition markers and the managers.
No one is irreplaceable, no doubt about that. In fact, the manager has made it pretty clear with the sale of players like David Luiz, Juan Mata, and Andre Schurrle. If the manager thinks that the Brazilian is surplus to his requirements and there is a right amount at the table for him, no doubt he could be sold. As things stand, irrespective of what’s going around in the press, I don’t think we are looking to offload the Brazilian, certainly not until we do have a pretty good replacement lined up.
A swap deal with Paul Pogba is also one of the ridiculous stuff that is floating around the internet these days. Ridiculous because both the players play in different positions. Paul Pogba would most likely slot in alongside Matic if we do buy the French midfielder, and saying that Fabregas could play the CAM role while Pogba takes his place is stupid because there’s no way we can pull off a high press with Fabregas playing that attacking role for the reasons explained above.
So, all in all, there’s very little reason to believe that Oscar could leave the beloved Blues this summer, at least not in my humble opinion.
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Edited By: Ojas Tripathi