Ever since his move to Chelsea in the summer of 2012, Oscar has been an integral part of the squad. His journey from Sao Paulo to West London has been quite amazing, and a major boost to his career at a young age of 23. The Brazilian has 6 goals and 7 assists to his name in 24 appearances playing in the Premier League, so far this season.
But if we go by the stats, there has been a huge gap between his last goal and now, which came on January 17, in the 5-0 thrashing of Swansea City. And the last assist came the weekend before, against Newcastle. A season in which Oscar was one of the players around whom the whole team was centred has now taken such a steep downfall for him.
Well, this is also not the first time when we have seen such a dip in Oscar’s form in the midst of the season. For the 3rd year in a row now, Oscar’s season has experienced this kind of a low. And now one thing is for sure, this is no coincidence of any kind.
While one reason has to be the huge change in weather conditions for the boy from sunny and hot area of Sao Paulo, who now is dealing with the harsh winter fixtures and cold weather conditions of London, playing for a Premier League club. The other is large number of fixtures the 23-year-old has been dealing with since these 3 years.
Before coming to Chelsea in the summer of 2012, he was playing his part for the Brazilian national team in the 2012 London Olympics. The first display of his talent in Chelsea shirt came in a Champions League game against Juventus when he netted two goals, and that set the foundation for more and more appearances for him. He then went on to score a total of 4 goals and 7 assists in Premier League, although the quality of his performance declined since January.
The following summer, before the beginning of 2013-14 season, Oscar was a key player of Confederations Cup winning team of Brazil, in which they went on to beat Spain by 3 goals to nil in the final. The arrival of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in the beginning of the season was to bring a lot more new opportunities for Oscar, as he became the best man Jose had in his squad in the early stages of the season, according to the Portuguese manager. This time he grabbed a total of eight goals throughout the Premier League Campaign, along with five assists to his name. But the problem of his declining form in the later parts of the season did seem to come around once again, as his only goal after the one he scored against Southampton on New Year’s day, came on March 22 when he scored a brace in the 6-0 rout of Arsenal.
The following summer, Oscar was again back to his international duty for Brazil’s World Cup campaign. As the Brazilian dreams were shattered in the semifinal against Germany, it was time to get back to his club routines. This season of 2014-15 saw another great start for Oscar. With another artists in team along with him such as Eden Hazard, and the coming of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa at the club, made the Blues look unstoppable. Oscar is on course to making it his best season as a Chelsea player in statistical terms, having grabbed 6 goals and 7 assists so far, although, it has been a little less than 3 months since his last goal.
For the past 3 summers, Oscar has had almost no summer break from his international football routine and playing for a club which usually makes it to the last stages of some or the other cup competition, there has been absolutely not enough resting time for him. And after all this, it should not be a surprise if fatigue begins to take over a player in the later parts of the season, especially in a country like England which lacks the winter breaks. Also, the amount of hard work the Brazilian has been doing to justify his position of a No.10, on the field, is quite remarkable- tracing back, collecting the ball from opposition, and then playing it forward. Even the best player on the planet cannot be expected to deliver on all occasions in such circumstances. And we can’t expect this problem to eradicate anytime soon with Copa America action coming up this summer for Oscar.
But that doesn’t solve Chelsea’s problem either. Is letting go Oscar and getting a replacement for him the best way? Surely not, because the man is too good a player to let go. But we can definitely have another option on bench for Oscar, which will also promote squad rotation, which is essential for the winter months when injuries become very usual.
Another reason for Oscar’s misfortunes this season might be the decline in the delivering ability of yet another creative player in the squad, Cesc Fabregas. The two excelled as the creative companions of the team at the beginning of the season, and it may be true to some extent that Oscar’s skillful play is linked with that of Fabregas. And it might just be happening that when Fabregas discovers his form, it can prove to be equally good for Oscar to help him get back to his early season form.
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Edited By: Ojas Tripathi