John Obi Mikel never passes forward

John Obi Mikel, caught in the act of not passing forwards - Shaun Botterill

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is off in South Africa for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Having started most of the matches under former manager Roberto di Matteo, he's seen his time cut by Rafa Benitez, and now he's off with the Super Eagles doing his thing in Nigeria so we won't see him in a blue shirt for a while.

But what are we missing with Mikel out? Everyone knows he's a good defensive midfielder, a man who'll win the ball and keep cool in possession. But after that opinions among Chelsea fans are split. Specifically, there's a school of thought that says he does nothing for the attack, because he only ever passes sideways and backwards -- and even when he does push the ball forward, those passes are never ambitious or incisive.

While I was watching Nigeria vs. Burkina Faso today, I thought I'd catalogue Mikel's most egregious instances of refusing to pass the ball forward (nb: click for .gifs).

Mikel_1_medium
Mikel never passes forward #1.

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Mikel never passes forward #2.

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Mikel never passes forward #3.

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Mikel never passes forward #4.

I got tired of doing this around the 25th minute, probably because Mikel was so busy never passing forwards. He's so boring!


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