Remember the time Chelsea and Manchester United battled it out for a certain Nigerian midfielder? Well, we certainly do, John Obi Mikel was that player and he eventually joined Chelsea amid hues and cries from Manchester.
Mikel though was a mainstay for Jose Mourinho’s first side which did so extremely well in the Premier League but due to the number of managers and injuries his importance to the side has greatly been diminished.
The Nigerian isn’t a regular in the Chelsea XI and even though he is only 28-years-old, he is thinking about his future at the club since Nemanja Matic is the first choice in the defensive midfielder’s role and Cesc Fabregas ends up being his partner more often than not.
Not playing regularly is a problem for any top level player and Mikel might be thinking of moving away from the side in the summer.
“I have one more season with Chelsea but I know when this season ends, we will definitely sit down and try to sort out whatever needs to be sorted out.
“If it means me leaving, fine. If it means me staying, then I have to play because one thing I don’t want to do is to sit on the bench like I did before.”, he was quoted by the Mirror.
Mikel might be moving to an another league but would it be Serie A or La Liga or would end up moving like Ramires to the Chinese Super League in the quest of money? We compare the Nigerian with his teammate Matic and find out just how good or bad a season he has had at the club.
We would be using stats from Sqauwka.com and compare the performances using the per 90-minute metric to get a proper idea of what the Nigerian has achieved for the Blues.
The end of an era for the Nigerian
One of the most important facets in this day and age of football is the ability to pass. Mikel and Matic are somewhat close in this stat but it is Mikel who edges ahead of the Serbian with an 89% completion rate compared to 88% for Matic.
The length of the pass is also important and both players again are almost indistinguishable with Mikel’s average pass length being 17 metres while Matic’s is 17.5 metres. Coming to the more defensive aspects of the game, Mikel wins 2.21 tackles every 90 minutes while Matic wins 2.54 tackles per 90 minutes, again not a huge difference.
Mikel, however, is better at taking on other players and has a take on the success rate of 85% compared to Matic’s 74%. However, the Serbian is better in the air by winning 45% of his aerial duels compared to the 36% that Mikel has achieved this season.
Looking at the stats, there really isn’t much to show that Mikel has actually had a poor season compared to Matic. There can be the suggestion that Matic has also performed poorly this season but the best thing you can do is match your teammate and beat him and match Matic is what Mikel has done this season.
It might not be a big loss for Chelsea if Mikel does move away and it would just drive in the point that Jose Mourinho’s time in the club is over and with Mikel moving away, another Mourinho player will stop calling Chelsea his home.