Oscar Is Fast Becoming Chelsea’s Main Man Under Jose Mourinho

Before the start of this campaign there was positivity a-plenty when talk turned to Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s return and Frank Lampard’s contract extension made for a delighted set of supporters, and the prospect of the two aforementioned club legends working with the heroes in the making like Juan Mata and Eden Hazard did much to heighten anticipation ahead of a brand new season.

Now, we find ourselves three games into the campaign, and whilst normal service has resumed for both Mourinho and Lampard, Mata and Hazard have yet to shine as we know they both can. In fact, it is another player in amongst the stockpile of Chelsea’s number 10’s who is emerging as they key man in Mourinho’s second spell.

That player is Oscar. And when you look at his development throughout the course of last season – his debut campaign in the Premier League – it shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Having operated on either flank and through the middle in his maiden Chelsea campaign, Oscar offered snippets of his unquestionable ability. His performances in Europe, especially in the 2-2 draw against Juventus, were perhaps the first indicators of his prodigious talent.

Good performances against the likes of the Italian giants were accompanied by some where the youngster cut a peripheral figure. But the common consensus around Stamford Bridge was that their Brazilian playmaker represented money well spent. Sure he was inconsistent, but what player isn’t at 20 years of age? Lets not forget, he featured 64 times for Chelsea last season, a massive amount of games for a developing player in an unfamiliar environment. There was always going to be peaks and troughs.

Under the interim manager Rafael Benitez, Oscar operated primarily on the right-hand side towards the tail end of last season. His attacking threat remained, but perhaps most tellingly, he gave an indication of his willingness to track back and help out from a defensive point of view. Not a typical trait of the modern day flair player, it has to be said. He actually averaged 2.5 tackles per game last season, the third highest in the Chelsea squad.

This defensive contribution is something current boss Mourinho demands from all of his players, and you suspect it was Oscar’s performances under Benitez that caught the new manager’s eye. Oscar demonstrated a real understanding of how to balance both attacking flair and stubborn discipline.

Players of this ilk fit the Mourinho mould perfectly, and subsequently Oscar has played at the crux of Chelsea’s three attacking midfield players in their opening games. He has been excellent in them all.

For a 21-year-old, he has shown levels of maturity that far surpass his years. Oscar has a remarkable understanding of the game, for his movement is not only geared towards making space for himself, but for his team mates too. Stylistically, he may not be overly flamboyant, but it is the subtle, understated nature of Oscar’s link-up play that gave Chelsea a fervent attacking purpose in their opening two games.

His positional sense – in both an attacking and defensive sense – is also remarkable for one so young. Focusing on the defensive side, this awareness, coupled with an excellent work-rate means that Oscar can help spoil the opposition’s fluidity from his advanced position .

This was on show in Chelsea’s visit to Manchester United. Oscar was always working to get close to and pester Michael Carrick; a key component in Chelsea disrupting United’s attacking rhythm. Not to mention, in periods of the game where Chelsea became overrun and under pressure, Mourinho would instruct Oscar to drop deeper and help his side maintain possession. Oscar obliged, and flourished doing so.

Oscar may not be as flashy as his teammates Mata or Hazard, and resultantly may not get the same amount of adulation. But at the moment, he is shaping up to be Chelsea’s main man under the new manager.

He is starting to perform a number of crucial tactical roles in Mourinho’s line-up and looks set to play a significant part for the club on all fronts. The Brazilian looks to have learnt plenty from his first campaign in England and an extended run in his favoured position will only see him cement his place at the heart of this Chelsea side.

Statistics courtesy of Whoscored.com.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter:  @MattJFootball

6 thoughts on “Oscar Is Fast Becoming Chelsea’s Main Man Under Jose Mourinho”

    1. Defense : United (Stable steady rock solid)
      Midfield : Chelsea (Tons of the best creative playmakers on the planet plus top midfield scorrer of all time)
      Attack :City ( Tons of world class strikers its a team of strikers!)

  1. Mourinho must be stupid and crazy to have left Mata and Lukaku with Moses and David Luiz out of United match and should be warn to be sack if he repeat such expensive joke again. Shame on you Mourinho and i know he hates Mata ,Torres and César Azpilicueta due to Spanish media problems and the madrid managements too and the Moses and Mikel because of Mike Emenalo.

    Mourinho keeps saying that Mata is important to him and Chelsea and yet he allow Mata to be huminated by many clubs demanding our best player on loan, what kind of insult are we Chelsea fan receiving surrounding our best player of the year.Mourinho should give us reason why he is not playing David Luiz , Victor Moses, Jean Mata and John Mikel Obi and since ever he stop playing them , Chelsea football is always weak in attacking. Mourinho should wake up and stop all this nonsence that he is playing with our good players and i don’t know if he is the only one that does not like good things.

    Shame on Mourinho for causing Victor Moses, Mata and David Luiz for not been happy among Chelsea players, Shame on trouble Mourinho for he knows that this players are in the heart of fans and Mourinho likes to be the only one popular. Mourinho is a greedy father that wants to be popular than his own son. It is not a most that Ramires and Lampard that is already weak to start in every match even John Terry ,all because the are Mourinho’s pals.Benitez rotational time in Chelsea was the best and far better than Mourinho new tenure.

    1. WOW easy there Boss. Why don’t you find out first why mata wasn’t in the game before you start shaming Mourinho.

      This is what Mourinho said after the ManU game
      There is no chance Juan goes,’ he said.
      ‘He had a very small pre-season after the Confederations Cup. And during that pre-season he was injured.
      ‘He started training two days before we played the first league match.
      ‘He played against Aston Villa and I decided to put him on the bench against United.’

      So before you rant about. Be sure you have all the fact.

  2. All I would say for now is. We fans look @ the present. JM has a plan well worked out to win the league. We had the talent to win @ old trafford but u all remember what happened under Scolari. Don’t give out your best plans from the beginning of the season. Ancelotti inherited the same team n won the league comfortably. So do not crucify JM, he sees it all on the long-run. Not on the short-run. Look @ Man. City teams are already sorting out how to win them. If you are a predictable team, u can’t win the league. This PL is ours to lose. #CFC #KTBFFH

  3. I don’t understand why Mourinho is not playing Lukaku, given that he convinced the striker to stay during the summer.
    And Lukaku looked really good against Villa. However, I agree that Oscar is the main man, and every attack seems to run through him. I wrote a piece on my website about it.

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