Graham's note: Thorough and enjoyable; well worth a read.
I wanted to have a look at Oscar's recent club games to see how he would fit in to a Chelsea squad. I have put together a video of all of Oscar's touches against Cruzeiro.
I would like to start by looking at his position and his weaknesses that this game shows. He starts out playing in a RM position. When you look at the line up for Internacional for that game, they are listed as using a 4-2-2-2 lineup with Oscar playing in the second band of 2 behind the strikers but it was much more of a 4-4-2. He probably spent 50% of the time playing as a RM, probably 25% in a 2nd striker role and then 25% in a LM position. He scores his goal from the RM positions as well; moving in from the RM and following up the middle to score just on the left hand side. He seems very versatile and able to play LM, RM, CAM, CF. My hope was that he would also be able to play a CM role, possibly in the double pivot but from this game, that seems very unlikely, at least at this early stage of his career.
The 20 year old had quite a few problems with his defensive skills. To put it bluntly, he offered very little in defense... at all.. He was easily passed by the Cruzeiro left mid and was definitely the weakest link, defensively, in the midfield of 4. When Cruzeiro had possession near him, he made very little effort to go and pressure the play to help his team mates. He was absolutely no help defensively or offensively on corners. Oscar was not positioned inside the box for either and rarely actively tried to contest headers; he would try to use his body positioning to win the headers without jumping to contest them. Additionally, he didn't often track back to help defensively. When Cruzeiro were counter attacking, he was often one of the last 2 players to drop back for Internacional.
Oscar clearly has plenty of potential going forward. He made very intelligent runs off the ball, one of which led to his goal. He was composed over the ball, though he did occasionally misjudge a few balls, which would come with experience. He was also able to put in a few dangerous crosses. His decision making was impressive too as he rarely ran into trouble by trying to bundle the ball forward through the defense; often making the good decision to retain possession. Oscar made good attacking runs down the wing as well and was able to go past the defenders often. From this game, it would appear as though he has a high % of successful dribbles.
The lack of defensive 'ability' or pressure would make me think that he would definitely struggle if he was put in the CM position or the double pivot. I think that he would be able to thrive playing in and of the band of 3 in the 4-2-3-1 or playing in an advanced position in a 4-3-3 probably in front of a pair like Lampard-Ramires.
Overall I was very impressed. He shows plenty of potential, versatility and composure. €20 million would represent good value, in my opinion, but much more than that and I think we might be overpaying.
I currently working on another one of Internacional's games so we can keep looking at his game, not just his highlights.