About a month into last season’s campaign, Chelsea FC boss José Mourinho made it very clear that Oscar was his first-choice to play in the No. 10 role for Chelsea and that he was going to build his team around the young Brazilian playmaker.
This decision meant that fan favorite and reigning two-time Chelsea FC Player of the Year Juan Mata was sent into exile in the Chelsea squad and he was later sold to Manchester United during the winter transfer window.
Mourinho’s vote of confidence in Oscar payed off well during the first half of the season when Oscar was in fine form in all competitions but the second half of the season was a very different story. Oscar only scored twice during the final 15 Premier League matches (brace against Arsenal) and he did not make an appearance in either of the Champions League Semifinal matches.
His dip in form only made the decision to sell Mata look really poor, as it left supporters questioning if Oscar had the creative influence to be an effective No. 10 for Chelsea. There were also rumors that Oscar wasn’t giving 100 percent towards the end of the season, so he would not risk injury and miss the once in a lifetime chance of getting to play in the World Cup in his home country.
While Oscar has performed well at the World Cup, as Mourinho predicted, it leaves Chelsea fans wondering where we these kind of performances last season? Especially after his brilliant performance against Croatia in the World Cup opener.
However, the recent signing of Cesc Fàbregas may push Oscar to the bench as the Spaniard could take over the No. 10 role. Fàbregas is already a proven creative force in football and his previous experience in the EPL while at Arsenal means he will not need to adapt to the physical nature of the league.
However, while Fàbregas at the No. 10 is a fantastic option to have, I believe the Mourinho would rather deploy him in the midfield alongside Nemanja Matić to finally give Chelsea a double-pivot pairing that the fans have been craving.
In terms of his work rate, Oscar is one of the best and that is why Mourinho rates him so highly. Oscar’s desire to get himself into tackles and winning possession is something Fàbregas lacks in his game, and it’s hard for me to imagine Mourinho opting to play Fàbregas, who possesses similar qualities to Mata over Oscar.
But Oscar’s style of play allows him to play anywhere in the midfield and as we saw against Juventus in the 2012 Champions League Group Stage, Oscar was deployed in the pivot and had world-class midfielder Andrea Pirlo in his pocket for the full 90 minutes.
The Fàbregas signing could also signal a change in formation as Mourinho may opt to play a 4-3-3 instead of the usual 4-2-3-1. This signing leaves Chelsea with a lot of different attacking options, which will beneficial during another long season.
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