Oscar dos Santos – once an untouchable player in the Chelsea squad, but now he is the first player facing the axe. The defending English Premier League Champions suffered an unexpected downfall this season and are in the ‘relegation’ battle. Oscar was tipped to achieve greater heights when he joined Chelsea in 2012, but since then he has not lived up to the expectations.
The Brazilian ‘wonder boy’ was constantly linked with a move away from the Stamford Bridge in the summer transfer window, but manager Jose Mourinho showed enormous support to the player insisting the player will make a notable improvement this season. The things did not go well for Mourinho and his men which resulted in Jose Mourinho to bench the player he ‘chose’ to be his long-term No.10 when he took over Chelsea in 2013.
But it is right to sell the Brazilian attacker just because of a stumbling start to the new season? I think it is NOT right and here are my reasons:
Typical Brazilian Talent
Though Oscar was inconsistent and did not play up to the expected level, he has shown his uniquenesses in all the ways possible. He has that unique elixir of Brazilian blood and the world has seen that many times. His first goal for Chelsea come against Juventus and that’s the first time the Chelsea fans believed that the boy can be their best player for many years to come. He scored two stunners that day against a keeper who is considered as one of the best GK’s of all-time.
Since then Oscar has started to cement his role in the Chelsea squad but did not get the chance to make a big impact due to the presence of Juan Mata. When Jose Mourinho returned he felt that the Brazilian is more suitable for his Chelsea rather than Mata and he acted in the same way which resulted in the selling of Juan Mata to Manchester United. Jose Mourinho continuously supported Oscar whenever the player faced criticisms.
The reason for Mourinho’s favouritism on Oscar is the manager saw the potential the Brazilian has. Brazilians are known for their quick feet, individual impact, scoring abilities and the so-called Brazilian flair. Oscar has got all that capabilities and it’s only a matter of time (considering his age) for him to make full use of his potential.
Oscar is an attacking midfielder, but he earned Jose Mourinho’s faith for his defensive attributes. He has been fantastic for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the No.10 role last season but only until the winter. After that, he had a mentionable dip of form failing to acquire regular starting place. Though he had injury concerns as an excuse, he should not outrun from the truth that he has been below par after the half season.
Oscar’s ability to track back opponent’s attackers, his accurate tackles, ability to cut the connective ball from defence to midfield have all proved a major strength for him and Chelsea. The Blues had/has arguably better-attacking talents than Oscar, but none of them have the ability of the Brazilian to track back and defend.
The other important attribute of Oscar is his versatility; unlike his former teammates and competitors for his No.10 role Juan Mata and Kevin de Bruyne. Both Mata and Bruyne can play in all the attacking areas, but they can only play as an attacking midfielder whether it is on the right, left or centre of the pitch. But Oscar! He can even play as a central midfielder (a pivot) or as a centre-forward.
During his earlier days, Oscar always played as a right midfielder but he was converted into a No.10 by Jose Mourinho and that has served very good to both the player and the team.
Oscar’s recent performance against Maccabi tel Aviv is the perfect show to prove his versatility. When Diego Costa can not help the team up front, Oscar stepped up as a centre-forward closer to the goal. He scored a beautiful headed goal that earned full credit from the manager. Mourinho even sounded like he may put Oscar further up on the pitch since his main man Diego Costa is continuously failing to score.
Oscar’s link-up with fellow teammates Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard last season was one of the major reason behind the later duo’s grand success. He helped them to build a beautiful passage to create and score. Though he was not in level with Eden Hazard or Cesc Fabregas, his absence proved in any game proved how vital he was for the team. When Oscar was absent, the duo struggled to play their usual trade but the strong defensive unit of Chelsea outshined every bit of weakness the team had last season.
Oscar is simply wasting his potential just because he shortens his game to the level that Jose Mourinho asks from him and finally that is going to cost him big. Mourinho is more adamant to keep his team’s solidity but he never complains when a player takes more responsibility while doing his usual work to perfection. Oscar’s fellow Brazilian teammate Willian is the best example that Oscar should learn from. It’s time for Oscar to STEP UP unless he will be sent straight out of the Stamford Bridge and only he and his devoted fans will regret that later.