Chelsea FC – The Pivot Option

Chelsea’s Capital One Cup fixture against Swindon away from home saw two injuries, one of them being a major issue. Ramires was taken off, who himself came on as a substitute due to a hip injury. Whereas Chelsea’s young gun Marco van Ginkel suffered a serious ligament tear which has ruled him out for 6 months i.e. van Ginkel will not be available for the rest of the season. That is a major blow for the promising young Dutch International who earned his cap against Germany recently, but considering he is only 20 he has time to prove to be a world class player.

On the other hand Ramires though looks like he is recovering soon and slight chances are that he might return for Gameweek 6 against Spurs at the White Hart Lane.  This leaves Chelsea with some sort of a mini pivot crisis. However the few pairing options Chelsea have are


  • Lampard – Ramires
  • Lampard – Essien
  • Lampard – Mikel
  • Lampard – Luiz
  • Ramires – Essien
  • Ramires – Mikel
  • Ramires – Luiz
  • Essien – Mikel
  • Essien – Luiz
  • Mikel – Luiz

Okay, this doesn’t seem to look like ‘a few’ pairing options as mentioned earlier.

Though it might seem as Chelsea have a wide range of options for the Double Pivot, certainly not all of the pairings are tested and out of the tested ones, some have not been that effective either.

Though not being his preferred position, Lampard has adapted the role of being a holding midfielder. The Lampard and Ramires partnership was tested under the reign of Benitez. This partnership can make the back four vulnerable as Lampard and Ramires tend to move forward and provide support in attack. However though, due to Ramires’ incredible and tireless work rate, he tends to track back to defend when they lose possession. The Blues legend is at the twilight of his footballing career and at 35 years of age you can’t expect him to run up and down the field but he still remains a key player for Chelsea.

Out of the lot, John Obi Mikel is the only player for this position. Mikel is a true defensive midfielder Chelsea have. He always lies deep and plays in support with the back four. Although he is one of the most underrated players (at-least amongst the neutrals if not for the Blues fans) his defensive work rate is incredible which if you have remembered was on full display during Chelsea’s Champions League final win against a fierce Bayern side.

Which leaves us with Michael Essien or ‘The Bison’ as he is called captained Chelsea against Swindon in their Capital One Cup fixture. Essien was wayward with some of his passing but played a very decent game and was very impressive with making some forward runs. Injury has robbed the Ghanian of his physical abilities that he once possessed but he looked to possess a decent shape against Swindon and if he manages to keep himself fit he can be a probable player for Mourinho in this role.

David Luiz is another interesting player to think about. Benitez had placed the Brazilian in the holding midfield role quite a few times and he did farely well. Very well actually.

Mourinho after benching him for a long time, decided to use him at the same position against Swindon. Terry was brought on for injured Ramires and Luiz was pushed forward along with Essien in the pivot role. Luiz, being played as a Centre Back quite often makes the defense vulnerable with his tendency to move forward with the ball. Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge Luiz has improved his game a lot and looks very well composed than earlier. Given his tendency to move forward and his ability to defend, Luiz should be looking for the holding midfield role as his preferred position.

If so, a Lampard – Luiz pairing as seen under Benitez can be very effective. A Luiz – Ramires and Luiz – Mikel partnership is also worth considering.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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