It's been a while since I've done one of these so let's review. This is a overview of every Chelsea players current standing with the club, what they can contribute now and what they can contribute in the future. In this post I'll review midfielders, a funny position where I tend to feel we have too many players only to think hours later that we have too little players. So here we go, in no particular order...
Michael Essien: I'm sure we all remember the Essien of old, a player who had a resonable stake for being the world's best box-to-box midfielder. Well, ever since a couple injuries hes looked nothing like his previous self (injuries will do that to a player). His play last season was slow and laborius, failing to recapture the signature drive we had grown accustomed to. There were some positive moments that resembled the old Essien (crunching tackles, break up play etc.) but nothing that was sustained over a period of time. I still have faith in Essien, it's hard to believe a player of such quality could fall so far (he's only 29!), but we have to seriously consider selling if he has another half season of poor play. Delicious players like Marouane Fellaini and Javi Martinez are very suitable replacements.
Oriol Romeu: We snatched Romeu from the conveyor belt of talent at Barcelona and early on in the season he was looking like a definite starter. He tailed off a bit as the season progressed, showing his lack of polish in some tight situations. Nevertheless Romeu is a fantastic talent and we should cater to his talent, his potential in the pivot is very high and something we should look foreword too. Let's put it this way, in three years a Javi Martinez-Oriol Romeu pivot could be dominant.
Frank Lampard: Along with the new additions, Lampard has to be one of the most intresting headlines going into next year. He work in the pivot, as documented by WAGNH, is nothing short of exeptional and something that could be counted on if he was 27/28 years old. Exept he's not, Lampard's age puts his long term ability in the pivot into question. While I think he could be trusted with the role during the next season, anything past that is iffy at best. And if Frank is unwilling to accept a subs role, a longterm role is tough to see.
John Obi Mikel: With Mikel, it's the occasional boneheaded play that keeps him from being an elite holding midfielder. Now some say that's harsch, but defensive midfield is a position that requires very few mistakes and the ability to keep mistakes little by recovering. This is what made Makelele dominant as a holding mid. This isn't to say Mikel doesn't have the ability, his late season performances were crucial to our success. If he can iron out the small wrinkles in his game, were looking at a player who can quietly win us games for a long time.
Raul Meireles: Meireles can certainly be an infuriating player ("AH! WHY ARE YOU TRYING A BACKHEEL IN OUR HALF IN A ONE GOAL GAME!!!") but he does have some qualities that make him an interesting player to field in the starting 11. First, he has some serious quality on the counter attack and more importantly he has an ability to just.........be there. There is really no better way to put it, like a hound dog (h/t to several people in the comment section). His role in the team is simply as a interesting midfielder that we can put in to disrupt the opponents passing and hit on the counter. I value him for that.
Josh McEachran: Josh serves as a warning to us to look into the club were sending him on loan to. The reaction to his loan to Swansea was mostly (and this includes me), "Swansea? I like Swansea, they pass a lot. SEND HIM!", when we should have realized that there was no way he was going to displace Allen and Britton. Sure he could have gotten more minutes in a sub role at Swansea than Rodgers was giving him, but there were teams where he could have gotten starting minutes. Let's give him another loan (no use staying in the basket here), but lets also take a good, long, hard look at the club where he's going.
Yossi Benayoun: Before our Marin/Hazard buys I thought that Yossi would actually serve as good depth to Mata. I still think that's somewhat true but there's really no need given our new talent. See if Arsenal will take him for 2 or 3 million pounds.
I'm Including Ramires and Malouda in the attacking state of the squad.