Our Brilliant Brazilian - Compliments to Ramires
There’s no denying the impact our recently dubbed trifecta “Mazacar” had on the game the minute all three began marauding the pitch at the same time last night against United. The tides turned, we started looking extremely dangerous going forward, and clearly, it paid off. Much must be said for Moses too, who alongside ‘Mazacar’ and Sturridge, spearheaded our attack with determination and pure quality. As Seb mentioned in his recap, it’s a bit unlucky for Moses that Oscar, Mata, and Hazard have been playing so incredibly together, and have meshed so well so quickly, as I believe last night he showed the class to be a first-team regular. Regardless, he had his opportunity, and took it wonderfully.
But the point of this post is not to again compliment our attacking front four (or five, as was the case last night). It’s to compliment our often under appreciated little man in the midfield, Ramires. Over the last year or so for us, Ramires has been a revelation. He covers the pitch, box to box, with almost ceaseless energy every game. That’s why today, I want to praise our lovely Brazilian on his performance last night. So much has been made of our “holy trinity” Mazacar (and rightly so), but for me, another one of the more instrumental players in our side this season has been Rami. I can’t get over how versatile of a player he has proved to be since signing him from Benfica. Under Ancelotti, he tended to play a bit more central, often paired with Lampard through the middle when he got the nod to play. Under AVB he played out wide, again through the middle, and even on some occasions a more defensive midfield position like we’re tending to see him in now under Di Matteo. In every single position he’s been asked to play, he has thrived. Last night, he again showed how well he covers the field. There were two or three occasions I can clearly recall where he managed to make a clutch tackle as United was starting on the break, and a few more where he managed to win the ball back as they were pressing us hard in the final third. On top of this, he transitions from defense to offense with impeccable efficiency, and is very pacey on the counter (recall his wonder-chip in the CL semis v. Barca last year, anyone?). If that’s too distant a memory, what about last night when he and Hazard lead the charge up the field, Rami got onto the end of Hazard’s spectacular pass into the box, calmly rounded the keeper and touched in for our final strike? And even in that horrific game last Sunday he headed in yet another crucial goal. He consistently manages to have a positive impact in enormous games.
I realize the opinion of Mikel has been split since he’s arrived. And I won’t dispute this – I have often found myself ‘waffling’ between how I feel about him. However, during the CL last season he did exactly what was asked of him, and thus far this season (maybe placing last night aside), he has shown that he is evolving to our new, more exciting style of play. In light of this, and the fact that Oriol Romeu just doesn’t quite look like he’s ready to be a starter, I think pairing Mikel and Ramires has to be a week-in, week-out decision. The defensive support Mikel provides our back four, combined with the dynamic options and fluidity Rami provides going forward with the front four, is a perfect partnership. Apologies to our old stalwart Frank, but my nod for our best defensive midfield partnership goes to Mikel and, of course, Rami. Ramires this season has, in my opinion, proven his quality repeatedly, and has managed to make himself as indispensible to our side as the three-headed beast, Mazacar.
So what do you guys think: What is our best defensive midfield pairing? Would you like to see more of what Romeu has to offer, or should we stick with a rotation between Lampsie, Mikel, and Rami in that holding midfield position?