Mata or Oscar? – The Talk of the Town

Has November arrived already? The blip at the start of the season wasn’t expected at such an early stage of the season, if expected at all. The defeat against Everton away at Goodison and then an embarrassing defeat vs Basel in the Champions League at the Bridge has surely ended any last honeymoon moments for Jose. The ‘Happy One’ hasn’t had the most joyous start as he would have liked which has now put pressure on Jose, who would have thought!

The fans are divided, some holding on to the ‘In Jose We Trust’ or the ‘Jose Knows’ banner and then there are others who are growing frustrated with the striker problems and the lack of consistency from midfield, comparing Rafa with Jose and how this bunch of players was performing better under Rafa. Surely the fans were expecting better results from Chelsea and more entertaining football. The whole Jose Saga from Last season has set the bar of expectations so high that the fans are finding it hard to digest these early setbacks.0,,10268~12158637,00

What’s the Mata Jose?

The blow that has been the hardest one to take has been the exclusion of Mata from the Starting XI with Oscar taking the spot behind the striker. With what I have seen so far does however justifies Oscar’s selection in the starting XI, he has been brilliant. Mata has been Chelsea’s best player over the past two seasons and has featured in almost every game, yet he struggles to break into the Starting XI and when he does play he isn’t where he left off last season. Injuries, lack of match practice or pressure? A bit of all of them, but to say that Mata is out of favor with Jose, I think that still is a bit premature to think. We can make assumptions all we want but we don’t really know the real story, so speculations are all we have.

Meanwhile on the pitch Oscar has Chelsea’s best player so far this season (in my opinion) and has put in good solid performances unlike last season where he was average for most parts. Yes he had those flashes of brilliance in the UCL but still a bit behind when it came to the league but this season deployed in the #10 role he has thrived and has been a revelation.

In my ideal Chelsea lineup however I would always prefer Mata to start behind the striker and Oscar in the pivot. Always believed he is the sort of player who belongs to the pivot, all he needs to do is muscle up for the English game. He is a sort of player who would press forward but at the same time track back and make tackles for the team. Oscar’s debut game in the Champions League vs Juventus last year, he didn’t only score two memorable goals but also marked Pirlo for most of the game nullifying his influence on the match.

The only reason I can think of starting Oscar ahead of Mata is that Oscar is more disciplined defensively than Mata and that’s what Jose looks from his team, a defending unit. With Mata playing as the player behind the striker takes that luxury away from the system Jose is trying to deploy.

Where would Mata fit in then? He is not a player for the wings, far from it. A proper #10 who likes to play in the center and if you play him on the wings we end up in a narrow midfield without any width which makes defending a lot easier. We saw in the game vs Aston Villa when Mata was playing on the right side. The narrow midfield made defending very easy as Villa built up numbers in center of the pitch and soaked up all the pressure without having being stretched from the wings.

The question now is the system really working for Chelsea under Jose? Chelsea is struggling to supply enough for our strikers who are struggling big time and becoming largely isolated from the midfield. We are absolutely packed with creative players with exceptional quality yet we fail to create enough, if we do then we don’t convert those chances.

We need to sort out our midfield woes first before we tackle the striker situation. Our strikers are not fed enough to be taking the entire blame, yes there are question marks but there has to be something that’s behind our misfiring strikers. If our individually creative midfield combines to create for the striker infront we might see better results.

Jose is rotating to find the right balance or the ‘more favored’ Starting XI for the season, but I won’t be surprised if we see a change in the formation. Jose is not afraid to try; we saw that in the game vs Everton in the second half. Surely he has got his thinking hat on and is going to find the right mix of winning and pretty football, just like the one Roman demands.

Jose in an interview after the Basel defeat pointed out:

“We are not scoring goals, that’s obvious. You can’t say we don’t score goals because we’re not an offensive team and don’t play offensive football and don’t have ball possession, because we [do] have an attacking mentality.

“I feel we are going in one direction, which is the direction we want to be to play a certain kind of football, but the reality is we are not scoring. But probably, if we play a defensive game and we just go on the counter-attack, probably we go there and score two or three goals.”

The hunt for the right balance between beautiful and winning football will continue it seems but there will be times where we will have to sacrifice beautiful football for wins and points because at the end of the day that’s what matters and with high expectations from the fans and media alike we are going to have some really tough choices to make.

Expecting a really strong response from Jose and Chelsea in the West London derby vs Fulham who haven’t won vs Chelsea in the league for a while, but do threaten a draw and have drawn four of the last seven games at the Bridge. A good game to bounce back, hope the lads will be all fired up and will steer Chelsea back to winning ways.

Up The Chels!

Make sure to let us know through comments what you think, we would appreciate your feedback. For more discussion follow me on twitter (@Hnk_89) and KTBFFH!

  1. K DHEERAJ says

    Yes! Jose counter attack and defending system does not suit mata playing style infact even someother players style in our team. Either mata has to change his playing style or jose has to change his style by going through central midfield with silky passes and fluidic play make killer passes around the box, thats how our team played mostly in last season and beat manu,arsenal…etc and some of top teams last season.Even the same problem persists for bayern and pep due to guardiola’s ‘self style’ and bayern has played slightly different style in last season i.e eventhough they dominated possesion under jupp they defended well, showed strong dominance in air and attacked very fast through flanks whenever they got room in either side of pitch and when pep came it was more about like game slowed down due to extra priorty on possesion.

  2. Anonymous says

    At this moment it looks as if Rafa has better tactics than Mourinho.

    1. Jeff says

      Its more like Rafa can work with young players better than Mourinho and Mourinho seems mechanical with the kind of game he wants to play with the array of talents we got….
      Would hate to see Mata leave but it might be for best if he does..

  3. Ken says

    Enough!! Mou is shit, living in stone age with his silly boring tactics..I never supported his second coming and will never will.
    compare cfc of last season you’ll see that is benitez is an astute tactian with the crave for beautiful football and yet some silly fans called for head…welcome to mou’s erra, an erra of boring football….

    1. Anonymous says

      mou isnt shit yet lets give him time then if he fails we can label him as shit. but for benitez he was indeed a blessing and we do miss him.

    2. Anonymous says

      mou is not shit. you are fucking stupid. go to Napoli if you want benitez

    3. Jeff says

      lolololololol@ken, pride wouldn’t want me to call Mou shit cos I wanted to see him back but Benitez seems the better fit for our crop of players…Mou should change his mechanical style

  4. Debanuj Chakrabarty says

    We really need to give the team some time. I was also terribly upset at the performances of last weekend and with Basel and was in ranting mode for a while, but I think we all need to calm down, After all it is only football!

    However, It really hassles me when Mata does not start. As you mentioned, IMO too, Oscar is more suited to playing a part of the pivot. The reason he doesn’t play there is because Jose starts Lampard in each and every game. Lamps, due respect and all that, should only be used as a squad player in cups etc. till the time we are bedding in the other youngsters in the team. Also, Jose needs to start playing Azpi and use Ivan as a CB along with Terry / Cahill, the only prob will be that a pairing of Terry and Ivan would be a bit slow, albeit with excellent positional sense. Cole also has been desperately poor in the last few games and needs to pull up his socks ASAP!!! Also, we need to give Schurrle a chance over Hazard in some games as we need a greater goal threat having loaned Lukaku out!!

    The ideal line up, IMO should be, Cech, Cole, Terry, Cahill, Luiz, Oscar, Schurrle / Hazard, Mata, Willian, Torres / Eto’o / Ba

    1. Emile 10 says

      Any car without engine is useless so Chelsea without Ramires….I don’t even think that to happen

    2. Vaakmeisster says

      Debanuj, your formation has an issue: 1st, are we going to use 10 players/ play without a right back? ( I know its a typo 🙂 ) 2nd, I see you would like us to play Luiz and Oscar in the pivot. That can work if we press high, but Mou doesn’t press high and Chelsea can’t even press high, thus, we will ship in loads of goals in this formation as Luiz will bring his poor tactical awareness to the midfield. A better pivot pairing would be Oscar-Ramires, as Ram is more tactically aware than Luiz. The best pairing here is Oscar- Mikel.

      1. seanpaul0916 says

        If u analyse carefully during the Basel game and the second half of Everton game, Chelsea did press high, but the problem is that the art of pressing high is very difficult to be mastered and it takes very good understand between players to achieve that. In order to press and win balls successfully in opposition half, you need few players to close the ball holding player and shut out his passing options, and that was what Barca had been doing brilliantly under Pep. For Chelsea, its not currently happening because 1 player pressing 1 opposition wont work.

        As for Cole, I agree that he’s been under par this season, but I dont think his performance during the Basel game was that bad. Mohd Salah, Basel’s fastest and most talented player had to switch to right wing in the second half, that explains how good Cole is in 1v1 battles.

  5. Vaakmeisster says

    Mata or oscar? Right now, Oscar. They could both be played though if Oscar is played at pivot. I think Oscar would do a better job there than Lamps. Though I firmly believe that Mou should ditch this formation as it can’t work with the kind of players he likes to use. A 4-3-3 with Mikel in DM and Oscar and Mata in CM would provide better supply to our forwards.

  6. Anonymous says

    You have said it all. Mourinho should try Oscar in the pivot with Mikel as Oscar will be going front to support the attack, play Hazard,Mata&Willian with Torres or Eto’o leave Lampard for less important team also try Cahill and Ivanovic in the central defence. Play Azip cause he have fine crossing and also quicker to return than Ivanovic. Mourinho should play Mata to gain his fitness and sharpness back! Chelsea remains the Blues!!!

  7. JAYDE says

    The last input is probably our solid last solution not even a temporary one. Hazard, Mata and willian should consistently be on the pitch keeping any kind if team at bay.
    More Physical matches will welcome Ramires’s services. And when smaller teams, FA cup & one league cup teams pop up; V. Ginkel, Essien and Lamps can have a go.

    Winning ways requires patience. Just like we do in a November syndrome, we should get behind our team afterall it’s not MOU who misses those chances in front of goal.. its the boys. Chelsea’s defence has some problems too. Ahsley Cole & David Luiz should step up or loose their roles to occasional appearances. We don’t want low morale In the squad.

    Finally Stop comparing the Rafa you didn’t like too much to Mourinho. He had his quite low moments too at the bridge. There’s nothing too as ” obsolete tactics” in football. cos teams play different tactics uniquely at different levels. But if I’m to give an opinion; its not the time for experiments MOU should stick with the more experienced & then eventually introduce his eggs slowly.

  8. Anonymous says

    Mata came in 70 min and was 1-0 for Chelsea. 10 mn later, it was 1-2 for Basel. Mata doesn’t defend. In this modern football, everyone defend, Did you see Van persie last Tuesday? He was everywhere. Mata is a great player but we need him to defend like Oscar: this is the reality and that is why he is not in the national team.

    Against fullham, it will be 4-3-3:


    ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole,

    Luiz – Ramirez – Lampard

    Oscar – Willian,


  9. Akinwumi Steven says

    The starting line up of any match matters a lot!Assuming Mou started with MAZARCAR and started with MIKEL and VAN GINKEL as pivot along with TORRES,it would have been a different ball game for us against Basel!The earlier the better for Mou to wake up from his slumber coz we won’t entertain any excuses at the end of the season!!!

  10. jm says

    It seems Morinho is abt tb proffesional 4 mnths still struggling f4 frst 11.One cod ask a wel compsed Mata on the bench.Most tme Barca dosnt defend yet win much.Always with creatve mfd strikers dnt struggle.Chelsea mdf has nt bn impressve last matches thus les chances.Let gve Mata his role ad mikel ad wl se change.

  11. Harry- long tem Chelsea fan says

    if Mata is not JM choice for no 10, then why JM insists using Mata in another role which is not suitable to Mata?! This shows JM is trying to vindicate his authority like he did at Real to no avail. JM will only succeed if he wins trophies, otherwise he will be a mince meat. JM supporters should take note that He “JM” received a very strong team on the ascendancy from Ranieri with like of Terry, Lampard, Makelele, & Chec …… This time JM has inherited a team with crispy skills from Michael Emenalo with the likes of Hazard, Mata, Ramires, Luis &…. JM is hell bent to disassemble this team for a boring 1-0 win team! I have a feeling JM will fail.

  12. Die hard chelsea fans says

    Mou is under shadow of his past spell with Chelsea.What matter is he want a instant success as per his previous spell at Chelsea.You can’t do that in a minute.Mou should start to fully utilies all Chelsea squad member.What happen to Cesar Azpicueleta?What happen to Mata?What happen to Hazard lately morale down?Come on Mou.Benitez sure can organise Chelsea team well than u Mou. Stop ur silly tactics midfield which u want them to defend as them was a defender.What the hell.Of course they must help the defender but not to focus just defend.This cause the fatique.My opinion for Chelsea line up:

    Cech- Cesar Azpi,Ivanovic,David Luiz, Betrand
    Ramires, Oscar,
    De Bruyne, Mata, Hazard/ Schurlee

  13. Jeff says

    Mou is stock in the past or trying to prove a point to Benitez by not using his first eleven or has a vendetta against spanish players…..
    he should leave chelseafc out of it cos he got the team that can play beautiful football and beat any team…Mou’s 1-0 or 2-1 won’t do it for me this season, I want to see 6-0 like the Ancelotti’s era cos we got the team that can do it

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