Chelsea FC: Jose Mourinho Favoring Oscar as No. 10, But What About Juan Mata?

By Brian Arnaud
Paul Frederiksen USA TODAY sports

The summer of 2010 newly hired coach Andres Villas Boas signed Juan Mata, who was voted Chelsea FC player of the year two years in a row. So, in the summer of 2011 Roberto Di Matteo signed players like Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Marko Marin. All of these players have proven to be solid Chelsea players (except for Marin who is currently on loan at Sevilla). However, there has been no player more important to the Blues’ lineup than the Brazilian Oscar.

After transferring from the Brazilian team Internacional for close to 20 million pounds, Oscar quickly made an immediate impact. At 22 years old he’s scored goals that for some seem impossible. For example, his wonder goal against Juventus in the UEFA Champions’ League group stages put him into the Chelsea history books. For a rather unknown player Chelsea took a risk in buying him. But it paid off as Oscar had the goal previously mentioned as Chelsea’s goal of the season, and since then he has become a crowd favorite. Last season Oscar proved to be an integral part of the team, along with Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, in the advanced midfield.

Recently Jose Mourinho stirred up some controversy by stating that Oscar will be taking over Juan Mata’s duties as the team’s No. 10 playmaker. After several world class performances and Juan Mata’s lack of form, Jose Mourinho has complete right to make this move. Comparing Jose’s current Chelsea team to Jose’s La Liga winning Real Madrid team, you would compare Oscar to Mesut Ozil. Both players are very comfortable in any advanced midfield position, and both players are prolific goal scorers for club and country. Oscar has been a very solid attacker scoring five goals in the Premier League so far and averaging at least one key pass a game. Even before this season, Oscar has put in work defensively as well, slowly becoming the box to box midfielder Mourinho needs. So if this is any indication Oscar will become one of the regular players on Mourinho’s team sheets.

Mata, on the other hand, has to adapt to Mourinho’s plans which is a counter-attack oriented team; in a way Mata has to become what Joe Cole was back on the Premier League winning side from 2004. Juan Mata has been another crowd favorite and arguably one of the best players Chelsea had in recent history. So this misconception of Mata being out of favor with Mourinho isn’t necessarily true, since the season has just started and Mourinho has players rotating to see what is his best eleven. And with players like Willian, Kevin De Bruyne, and Andre Schurrle, all of whom have stepped their game up to make the team, Mata has his work cut out for him. There is still hope for Mata to become part of The Special One’s best XI, however, he has to learn what Jose wants from a player like him. But for the time being the best choice at playmaker is Oscar.

Brian Arnaud is a writer for Follow him on twitter @BrianArnaudRS

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