Artistry, or defensive coverage? Oscar offers plenty in both department, albeit less consistently than some would like. The Brazilian has divided opinions since making his move from Internacional some 4 years ago. His talent is unquestionable; his ability to harness it, however, are rather less so.
On his day, the midfielder can give assists and score goals like nobody’s business. His goals mostly come in pairs, if that helps better describe this peculiar situation. He has often been compared to the legendary Kaka. It shows, too, not just in their playing style and technical gifts, but also in terms of their appearances. Seriously.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is Cesc Fabregas, the all-round midfielder. The Spaniard’s talents are such that when he’s at his best, managers automatically know where he fits into their system, but when average, gives the gaffer nightmares about tactics and formations amidst thoughts of where he can play. Currently, Chelsea are playing what looks like a 4-3-3 formation, with Kanté covering the hole in midfield. However, it is inferred that Conte does not feel too safe with the current back four, as the Italian manager started with Nemanja Matic, the more box-to-box style player, in the club’s last game at West Ham.
The Serbian is definitely the double safety insurance that Conte thinks the team needs with the current defensive line, but he’s also limited in his technical aspects of the game. Now, one of the more troubling aspects of last year’s Chelsea was that the midfielders, especially in the center of the park, weren’t covering enough ground. That was certainly not the case against West Ham, as Conte fielded a very athletic midfield, with the slightly added artistry of Oscar.
Fielding Cesc Fabregas instead of Oscar or Matic would’ve meant that the ground covered would be infinitely less, and though it wouldn’t have turned out too bad against a Hammers team that was also weakened in that particular area, taking these sort of risks are the last thing you’d want to do as the debutant manager especially of this club, given its record of hire-and-fire.
Of course, Conte reassured the media that Fabregas will get his chance, but Oscar’s display during that game could prove a decision hard to make for the manager. Does he sacrifice the defensive covering of the Brazilian for a slight advantage in the passing game, or does he drop the box-to-box Serbian, who’s had a few pretty bland performances throughout his last few games in a Blues shirt?
Thankfully, we aren’t the ones making the decision. The headache is all yours, Antonio.