It’s obvious that the Double Pivot is a huge concern if the wrong players are put there. We’ve seen numerous combination in the holding midfield position :
- David Luiz-Mikel
- David Luiz-Lampard
- David Luiz-Ramires
Those are the 8 combinations/pairings that we’ve seen (as far as I can remember). I’m certainly no fan of the Lampard-Ramires pairing and certainly find the Mikel-Lampard pairing slightly better, but not quite there.
We have a few options at the position :
David Luiz seems very calm and composed in the holding position and he seems to be his preferred position. His lack of success and heavy criticism at the centre back position did lead to Rafael Benitez placing him in the pivot where he was very solid.
John Obi Mikel is arguably the most underrated player on our team and is very composed on the ball. He played an unbelievably huge role in our Champions League triumph. He’s very accustomed to the position.
Oriol Romeu our former Barcelona B player has certainly played well at times, but his injury against Sunderland put an end to his season. Nonetheless, he is a very skilled player that has played the position for most of his career and can certainly hold the ball up well while picking out passes.
Ramires is a tricky player. He’s not a winger, but he’s not a holding midfielder. He doesn’t fit in our system, but he does still play in the position. He’s a central midfielder really, but that position isn’t available in the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Oscar is our Brazilian wonderkid. The 20 year old isn’t accustomed to the position and has played there a few times. He is very composed and good on the ball, but his lack of strength and defending qualities is an obvious concern. I’d rather him play up forward in his more usually position.
Frank Lampard, a Chelsea legend for sure, however Lampard is not an actual holding midfielder either. He’s had to adjust to this position as of recent times and he’s been inconsistent. Playing well alongside Mikel in the CL, but this season he is struggling with the position regardless of who he is playing with. Adjusting to the position has been a real tough task for Frank as he is used to playing as a attacking midfielder. Nonetheless, you can see the problem.
The problem is that we find our holding midfielders either –
a) Sitting back too much together and putting pressure on the defense and allowing the opposition to push forward in numbers. (i.e. West Brom this past week) Seen under Lampard-Ramires.
b) Pushing forward too much together and becoming prone to counterattacks (i.e. Newcastle’s 2nd goal last month) Seen under Lampard-Ramires.
c) One holding midfielder pushing forward too much or sitting back too much giving the other holding midfielder a huge problem. Seen under Lampard-Mikel.
We’ve dealt with each of these problems several times this season and it’s led to us losing more times than not.
Two types of solutions that I have narrowed down to :
- Without spending money
- Spending money
1. Without spending money :
I feel that the best pairing would be David Luiz-John Obi Mikel or David Luiz-Romeu (when he’s healthy). I don’t feel that Oscar, Ramires or Lampard will fit in because of their lack of experience and success in this position. David Luiz, Mikel and Oriol Romeu are accustomed to the position and have certainly found success playing there. I believe they are the best options available to us and for me, David Luiz must play because he does like to forward and go back with ease. Oriol Romeu and John Obi Mikel are both very used to being defensively minded so playing them together is a bad idea.
2. Spending money :
Chelsea can spend money (and certainly have), I believe Miralem Pjanic, Rafael Carioca and Casemiro are great, young options that will be available for a long time to us. Pjanic plays for AS Roma and is having quite some success there and is very productive for the Bosnian National Team. Carioca plays for Spartak Moskva (Moscow) and has played well for the most part. He is also Brazilian (like Luiz and Ramires) which would help with communication. He does have a tendency to go forward and have shots on goal, but is very solid defensively. Casemiro plays for Sao Paulo and is Brazilian as well. He’s 21 years of age and is rated as one of the better young talents in Brazil. He’s currently on loan at Real Madrid Castilla (B team of Real Madrid). He is more defensive than offensive and can pick out passes with ease.
That’s my solutions to the problem, we can either stick to our current squad depth or spend some cash on some young players that will be long-term solutions. Nonetheless, the options are available.
What do you think? What’s our best combination? How would you solve the problem?