Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior (no idea why nobody calls him this) stole the headlines with his incredible introduction to the Chelsea faithful against Juventus, but I hope this doesn’t hide an underlying problem, why is there not enough quality central midfielders to support this obvious attacking flair?
While I disagree with the media’s insistence that Andre Villas Boas was forcing the likes of Frank Lampard out of the team, the need for rotation, considering Lampard’s advancing years, seems necessary. This season however, it doesn’t look like there is any room for manoeuvre. Roberto Di Matteo himself stated that he was happy with his midfield options, saying
“We have Oriol Romeu, who played some very important games last season, and Ramires, so we have enough cover”.
Oriol Romeu did indeed play some very important games last season, in the holding role that John Obi Mikel is currently playing. If they were to be playing side by side, sure, there would be a strong shield in front of the back four, but no real creativity from deep. Ramires Santos do Nascimento (this is fun) has played in a central midfield role for former club Benfica, and country, but he has proven to be more useful as a right winger in this league, and whether his often clumsy touch and passing would be good enough in the centre of midfield is debatable.
Michael Essien’s move right at the end of deadline day puzzled many, but it is the departure of Raul Meireles to Fernabace that could be more costly. Meireles earnt his name at Chelsea with some fine performances to the back of last season, primarily in the Champions League, and with his creativity, his Lampard-esque arrivals from deep, along with a great work rate, he would surely be the perfect rotation option for the long season ahead.
With the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, and Victor Moses, there is no shortage of flair in this new look Chelsea side, but should money have been spent more wisely to take pressure off Lamps? We must wait and see.
By Matt Morlidge