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Keep, Sell, Loan: Oscar's 2015-16 season in review

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Taking a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of each and every Chelsea player's season. Next up, Oscar, who broke the paradigm of "Joga Bonito" for Brazilian attacking midfielders.

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Appearances: 27 starts (+13 as substitute).
Minutes: 1774 in Premier League; 303 in domestic cups; 362 in Champions League.
Statistics (per 90 minutes, Premier League): 0.10 goals (from open play); 0.15 assists; 2.64 shots (1.32 on target).

Just before the start of the season, manager José Mourinho tipped Oscar to undergo the same type of "evolution" that Eden Hazard experienced the season before, developing from a merely excellent attacking player to the best in the Premier League.  The young Brazilian, who had joined the same summer as Hazard, had had his fair share of ups and down in the three years since 2012 and these inconsistencies loomed large over any analysis of him.  But there was hope, with Chelsea defending a title and the squad looking to remain strong.  It was also the first time that Oscar had a proper pre-season to rest and build his fitness since just about the dawn of time.

Sure enough, Oscar started the season with a great performance against Swansea City.  Relentless pressing; creating for others and for himself — he was the best player on the pitch.  He scored from a free kick, our first goal of the season.  And yet he was still the man chosen by Mourinho to be sacrificed when Courtois collected his red card and was replaced by Begović less than ten minutes into the second half.  A subsequent knock, picked up in training at Cobham, took Oscar out of action for an entire month.  By the time he returned, Chelsea's season was already in ruins.

As things worsened, Oscar's inconsistencies came back into prime viewing, just as they had since his first years as a professional back Brazil.  While Chelsea were bad with or without Oscar on the pitch (perhaps slightly less bad with him in there providing his usual brand of tenacity, hard-work, and creativity), there was a distinct feeling that Oscar had simply not improved and developed as he had been expected to, not just since the previous summer but ever since he arrived.

At best he alternated good days and bad, scintillating performances and crucial missed penalties, hat tricks in FA Cups and invisible outings when the manager's job was on the line.  He was by no means the only player "guilty" of such things, but these have been recurring themes for him in a Chelsea shirt.  Often considered a vital "cog" in our midfield and the Chelsea transition game, as the season wound down, the 24-year-old started to see less time on the pitch, losing his starting spot to Pedro, and more time in tabloid headlines, getting linked with transfers to Italy and China.

The Good: His first half hat-trick against MK Dons in the FA Cup. The lower league side simply did not have an answer for the Chelsea's onslaught.

The Bad: A missed penalty late on against Watford, in Hiddink's first game in charge, cost Chelsea another two points at Stamford Bridge.

The Ugly: His performance as Chelsea lost 2-1 to Leicester City at King Power Stadium in José Mourinho's last game as Chelsea manager. Oscar was highly ineffective with the ball at his feet and almost anonymous without it, with the manager having to resort to bringing on non-entity Loïc Rémy in his stead after just an hour played.

Verdict: Expectations have always been high for Oscar, maybe as a result of that night against Juventus in the Champions League on his debut for the club. It was a pretty high bar set by the then-20-year-old player and one that he couldn't possibly live up to every single game.

All that could change with new boss Antonio Conte, who just happened to be in charge of Juventus around that time, and is a man renowned for developing quality midfielders.  It could be a match made in heaven.  Or it could be more of the same old, same old.  If another massive bid comes in for Oscar, would we be more tempted to sell?

Oscar may never collect the same amount of praise or accumulate outstanding statistics that would make his positive impact as obvious as, say an Eden Hazard or a Cesc Fabregas.  But there's still three years left on his contract and the prospect of another proper pre-season, combined with Conte's influence, could make things click again for the Brazilian, which in turn would enable all those around him to be at their best as well.