What Exactly Does This Baby Faced Brazilian Bring To The Chelsea Side?

Oscar Chelsea

In modern football statistics is the most preferred way to judge a footballer. Defenders are judged on how many successful tackles they make, Midfielders are judged on how many chances they create or on the number of assists they craft and forwards on the number of goals they score. This is a very accurate but also a very layman way to judge a footballer. Stats cannot outline the complete picture of a footballer. There are many footballers who cannot be judged simply by stats and these footballers are often mistaken as the overrated ones. Such is the case of Chelsea’s number ten role playing midfielder Oscar.

Oscar is a Brazilian midfielder, who joined Chelsea in the summer of 2012 as a backup or a squad rotation player for Chelsea fan’s beloved Juan Mata. Oscar didn’t impress much in his very first season as he was played on flanks and also as a CAM or trequartista. 2013 saw the return of the Special One Jose Mourinho, which also led to a few alterations in the squad some players left Chelsea while Andrea Schurrle and Willian joined Chelsea. Hence there was a competition between Oscar and Juan for the number 10 role and one had to be compromised. Both were given equal chances but it was Oscar, who came out on top and proved that he is a better midfielder and a Mourinho type of player. Ever since Oscar is the first choice and becoming an irreplaceable player in Jose’s plan, his development is also going in the right direction.


Let us first understand the role of a textbook number ten midfielder. A player who plays in a central attacking or a number 10 midfield role has a very sorted out work to do. He collects the ball from his central midfielders or wingers, looks for empty spaces, creates a chance for his teammates or directly assists to the striker. But for this one should have a brilliant chemistry with his teammates, hence called play maker. A CAM should also have the awareness of where he should be and should have the judgement of where his players are along with all these elements he should also have a very good movement on and off the ball. CAM’s are not expected to do any defensive work.

Now let us understand the brand of number ten role which Oscar plays. Well Oscar is a number ten in Jose Mourinho’s plans but does a lot more work and plays a different style of football as mentioned above. Oscar is an industrious chap whose contribution is not only seen in the attacking half but his work is also noticeable and helpful in the defensive third as he constantly tackles and tries to dispossess the opposition. He also compensates the sloppiness created by his teammates which leads to opposition’s counter attack by his perfectly timed tackling and excellent reading of the game.

Chelsea play in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation with a midfield triangle of Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar. Here Nemanja deals with the defensive work, Fabregas is the deep lying playmaker and Oscar plays as a box-to-box midfielder or in a pivot role with Fabregas. On paper Chelsea start with a formation of 4-3-3 where Matic and Fabregas are expected to have a partnership but as time passes by Fabregas and Oscar pair up. Here Oscar uses his strength to the ultimate level as he constantly tackles the opposition to collect the ball and gives freedom to Fabregas and Hazard by either passing it to any of them or himself carrying it. To be more precise Oscar sums up the industrious side of Chelsea’s pressing game by his excellent work rate.

Here’s a Heat Map of Oscar’s routine performance for Chelsea with their regular starters.


In this game Ivanovic and Schurrle paired up on the right side hence it was very difficult to expect any defensive work from them as Schurrle doesn’t contribute much in defense and Ivanovic likes to contribute in attack. Here Oscar attempted 5 tackles out of which 4 were on the right hand side and 2 in extreme right, all of these were to cease the opposition’s counter attack. This clearly explains Oscar’s game sense and hardworking nature.

Taking it all into the account Oscar role is much more advanced than a traditional number ten, he has taken this role to an whole new level and added more defensive work in it, Oscar has the creative mind of an trequartista and the hardworking nature of a defensive midfielder, hereinafter we can say that Oscar is a ‘False 10 Attacking Midfielder’.

Stats and heatmap via squawka