FanPost

The positional future of Oscar




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With Lampard maybe being released at the end of the year, or not being offered a playing contract by Chelsea. Then we only have Ramires left in the double pivot, unless Essien makes some miracle resurgence. Eddie Newton has hinted at Oscar maybe being prepped for that role but I would prefer someone else. As is the solution in way too many films, the answer may just be right before our eyes.

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Oscar is Roman’s golden child, similar to Eddie Murphy’s Buddhist looking one in that film except that he only uses his telekinesis for making Buffon angry. The intent to move him into the double pivot has been well established and with good reason. His distribution is amazing and he can hold onto the ball effectively, a skill which will only improve in the Premier league where it is more common to be pressed all over the park. His defensive pressing is also very good, and with the good knowledge and read of the game that he has an overly physical approach to defending isn’t necessary. He can position himself well, and go to press when necessary. As has been shown when he effectively closed down pirlo and Arteta. Tackling players is not always the best way of defending as you may have nowhere to go with the ball, you may be drawn into making a foul or you may leave space in behind. Holding your ground is often a lot more effective, in terms of pushing players into channels where their options are limited and possession can be taken back through forcing an error or having a more physical player clean up.

However he tends to draw a lot of fouls at the moment, something common and symptomatic of directions given to a player to press an opposition. Being educated as an attacker through his footballing career may also make the transition to a more defensive role difficult, but he isn’t an old dog and with a player as intelligent as him the potential is certainly there. Now the big issue it seems isn’t really whether he will adapt in time, as if called upon he will most likely perform in the position as adequately as Lampard has been doing, or whether or not he could perform in that role, moreover the question is whether the opportunity cost of having one of the world’s best attacking midfielders play further down the pitch is worth it.

Already Oscar has shown tremendous promise in the attacking band. His link up play with Hazard and Mata leaves a tingling in your tummy, similar to the one you get just as you sniff Christmas dinner being served. But that isn’t what is most exciting; their play is delicious but promises so much more. They aren’t playing to their full potential yet, and with time our attack will be a force that will be undefendable. The attribute that each of these players has in abundance ... is creativity. With that brings a sustainable way to win every single match we play, it only takes one moment of it and with all of them on the pitch it seems like that moment is bound to come. The skill that you can’t adjust your strategy for, unlike a pacey winger for example, is the one that we forked out so much money for this summer. When it came to all other purchases we seemed stingy by comparison, but we paid a premium for creativity and it shows.

The call has been for a deep lying playmaker to match our ambitions, but personally I believe that with our attack currently in its embryonic stage and already being head and shoulders above the rest. Why don’t we let this goliath grow (funny because of our diminutive attack) and seek an alternative solution for the deep lying playmaker. My answer to the deep lying playmaker position is this, develop josh or KDB there. They may not be as elite as Oscar has the potential to be there, but I also believe that the attacking band of three will never be as elite as it would be if we sacrificed Oscar. Both players have the credentials and as the departure of Lampard seems more and more imminent, then keeping hold of one of these two instead of shipping them out on loan again would be wise. Initially they could fit behind Ramires in the double pivot, and as they plied there trade in easier games and at the end of matches their ability assessed and roles adjusted accordingly. If they start to impress then give them the action they deserve. I can’t see a reason why this strategy wouldn’t work.

KDB is a player with fantastic vision and his passing range is superb, from what I have seen. He also has the pace to launch an attack from deep if he needs to dribble the ball up the pitch. His dribbling ability and ambipedality is especially noteworthy, as it could be developed so that he could keep possession in the face of challenges from opponents effectively. The one question mark that pops out would be whether he is up to the task of defending. But I reckon if he is nurtured correctly and given good teachings he could be a real asset there. Defending is the most tacit knowledge wise of every position, goalkeeping is close but the physical attributes necessary to be a goalkeeper are more important than a defender and so the knowhow and experience have more of an impact in your ability to defend well. From this, the only barrier to his ability to play this position is experience playing it. I believe that it is worth giving him a run out at the position when he gets back from Werder Bremen and not focus on negative results if he produces them as it will take time to fully integrate into this role.

As for Josh, his attributes are well documented and could be a key figure in a possession based game if that is one that is being created here. His small stature is an issue, as it was with the other players but perhaps more worrying is his decision making in the defensive third of the pitch. Maybe over confidence but most likely just inexperience, he is still young and I know that he could contribute to the Chelsea team next year but it would be more beneficial if he had one more loan spell. Then, if the lab results come back negative for KDB we can move him back up the pitch and hope Ramires has another solid season while Josh develops behind him.

My conclusion being that when Lampard is gone, and I hope the breakup it isn’t as bad as when AVB ditched him, we shouldn’t earmark Oscar as the future of that role. We should leave him to fulfil his role as the messiah of the attacking midfield and have a crack at developing Josh or Kevin in that position. In my eyes buying a player for that position is as unnecessary although as tempting as the desert end of an all you can eat buffet. If it fails we can spend big for that position, but not without some experimenting first. With the manager we have, this theory has some grounding as I think he would implement this kind of development strategy for the double pivot instead of buying big. And if he does get the axe, which I hope he doesn’t, then the next in line (theoretically) Josep Guardiola would likely want to develop that position too. Especially as Josh plays a practically Spanish game.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any sort of approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions held by the editors of this site.

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