Oscar dos Santos of Chelsea: A different kind of Center Attacking Midfielder
A narrative on Chelsea's Oscar and his time at Stamford Bridge so far.
When Chelsea bought a 20 year old Brazilian kid for 25 Million pounds in 2012, a lot of eyebrows were raised. His physical condition did not look ideal for premier league. He had already made a permanent place for himself in National team. Chelsea had just won the Champions League and were moving toward playing a new style of football at the club.
Chelsea also added the likes of Eden Hazard to the team to give them more creativity. Oscar caught the eye of everyone with his two wonder-strikes in minutes against Buffon of Juventus in a Champions League game. Mata, Oscar, Hazard were combining so well with each other, the fans started calling the “Mazacar”. They were causing a lot of problems for opponents.
Next year Jose Mourinho arrived at the bridge for a second stint at his beloved club. He made it clear that he is gonna build his team around Oscar over the fan favorite Juan Mata. The numbers and stats were in favour of Mata as well. But Jose did not like his work rate. Juan Mata struggled to make a good impression on the manager and eventually left the club for Manchester United. On the other hand Oscar was doing wonderfully well for Chelsea. Chelsea were doing reasonably well for a team in transition.
Traditionally the No.10′s(Center Attacking Midfielder) role was to hold the ball up and wait for the full-backs to join the attack and create chances for the team. He is the main playmaker. A number 10 was to have a good eye for goal, good ability to pass and also decent footwork to go past a few defenders on his own. A proper No. 10 can be the key to unlock even the tightest of defenses. Many teams are built around the No. 10. The likes of Mata, David Si lva and Wesley Sneijder are some of the finest Number 10′s around. They are all traditional No. 10′s
So what is it that Oscar brings to the team that Mata or even David Silva lack?
Well the answer to that question is simple. Its Oscar’s ability to pressurize the opponents into mistakes that make him so different from others. He is always a thorn in opponents defensive midfield and induces mistakes from even the best of them. He is good with the ball and has great turn of pace to frighten the opposition. But his ability off the ball is what makes him so dangerous.
For a little guy he is not afraid to go in for tackles when other CAM’s usually would take a breath from the action. He wins the ball very well and when has got the likes of hazard and schrulle on the wing, who make the most of this induced error. Oscar also has a good eye for goal. He was the highest scorer for Chelsea at one point of time this season before fatigue caught up with him.
There were many occasions when he came on as a sub and changed the game on its head. He is still 22 and will develop a lot under Jose Mourinho under whom the likes of Mesut Ozil and Wesley Sneijder have prospered in the same position. Also the manager’s likeness towards the workrate of attacking midfielders make Oscar an ideal option. He has started a new brand of attacking midfielders who defend from the front. He is a regular fixture in Brazil National Team and will be key to their world cup hopes.
For Brazil too he plays a similar role where he presses high wins the ball and feeds the forwards or wingers. They have Neymar who makes the most of this attacking prowess from Oscar. A lot of eyes will be on Neymar during the world cup but Oscar is just as vital for Brazil’s chances of winning it.
Oscar has started a new kind of skill the traditional No.10 lacked. This skill makes the No.10′s role even more defining and more vital for any team. All in all we can see many players emulating Oscar soon. The fact that he is just 22 makes him even more dangerous and raises the expectation in the future. Chelsea are moving forward and will get a good striker next season. They may add resources to other departments as well but Oscar will be key to their success next season.