There's Obi One Mikel

European and African Champion John Obi Mikel is a character who divides opinion amongst Chelsea fans
European and African Champion John Obi Mikel (second left) is a character who divides opinion amongst Chelsea fans

When I mention John Obi Mikel to you, and ask how highly you rate him, I’m not really sure on the response I’d get. In a inconsistant and fluctuating season for the Blues this season, the views and opinions of this Nigerian midfielder have been exactly the same, but what do we think of John Obi Mikel?

Through the years, the Nigerian has often been a scapegoat for Chelsea fans, many blaming his negative play with passing sideways or backwards when we feel the ball should go forward. Many also criticise his lack of goals, assists, just generally criticise him for anything he does. Often too slow on the ball and his decision making is not always best, Chelsea fans have been on his back for much of his career at Chelsea and especially in some stages of this season.

This season though, there has been a lot more support for the midfielder, with many starting to see the true worth of his positional play and all round game. I remember the time of the African Cup of Nations 2013, when nearly every Chelsea fan throughout the world was begging for him to return after the suicidal double pivot combination of Ramires and Lampard. The solidity in midfield is vastly increased once he is stuck in there and when playing alongside Ramires, they seem to bring the best out of each other. Ramires’ driving runs and high work rate are at there most effective when the ever defensive John Obi Mikel is there.

It has come to my attention though, through following many fans on Twitter, that a lot of Mikel opinions are based on whatever he did in his last performance. After he’s had a good game and we’ve won, we all praise him, some even hail him the best all round central midfielder we possess. However, after a substandard Chelsea performance against perhaps Southampton, he returns to being the scapegoat and he is harshly criticised when perhaps many others should be blamed – often the whole team. You’d think with having the ex-Liverpool trio of scapegoats at the club Mikel would get away, but he still doesn’t when, like I said, others are more deserving of the blame.

The thing about Mikel is that his true value is only really felt when he doesn’t play. He doesn’t score, he doesn’t assist but what he does do is helps the defensive side of our game, but this is only felt when he doesn’t figure in the starting line up. I’m not saying we will never concede when Mikel is in midfield because that is proposterous, but watch Ramires and Lampard play in the double pivot and then watch Ramires and Mikel in the pivot and note the difference. It’s big.

He’s never going to be a fans favourite, he’s never going to reach 200 goals for Chelsea and he most certainly isn’t worth his own weight in Russian gold, what he is though, in our current squad condition, is the balance. The balance we’ve searched for in our midfield, he along with Romeu hold their ground and allow the attacking players to play their natural game, not be square pegs in round holes trying to play defensively. With Romeu out injured, Mikel is essential to our starting XI, boasting a high level of experience which sure is useful for a still relatively young guy.

The message I’m trying to express here – if it isn’t already clear – is that Mikel holds more value to the team than many people realise. Yes, he makes mistakes, yes he’s not the best decision maker and he is by no means perfect, but with our midfield as it is, he’s crucial. A new defensive midfielder looks on the way in the summer which could spell the end of a long and successful Chelsea career for John Obi Mikel. He’s a man who holds the club very close to his heart and these bad performances by the team probably aren’t making him feel too happy either. He’s not the best defensive midfielder in the world but he’s the best we have at the moment, so lets support the guy and finally get off his back. It’s the least he deserves for his years of good service. No crap player is both a Champion of Europe and a Champion of Africa.

  1. JoNaHnOaH says

    GUD 1 dere. i dn’t rely knw wat ealse d fans want 4rm MIKEL, he’s d kind of player dat detate d style of play wihch FAT FOOL RAFA is nt utilisin 2 his ful potential since he came 2 manage CFC. Put MIKEL in d market n c hw top clubs r goin 2 rush him. Wel, a king is nt recognise in his own house.

  2. Irokotola michael says

    Good one jonah, i don’t think many chelsea fan do realise the importance of obi in our MF. The guy is our rock, if giving chance he will operate and dictate the play from the MF. You look back to the time of ballack and lampard. Mikel played with matured players that are all ready to defend at the same time and when lamps move forward ballack wil stay with obi or atleast 5 to 8 yard distance to him.they all play for each other and help one another if there is any blunder. But the type of players we have now, they are not ready but only ramirez to work with the defence. If you look at mikel’s style of play, he is a team player, who will never forget his responsibility of helping the defenders to defend and also start attack unlike lamps who will wanted to add His name on scorers sheet every week without minding what will happen to the team after his goal. Put Obi on the market, man united, madrid, juventus and many team will comme for him. The guy is a hidden jewel that his value will not be know untill it was stolen.

    1. king elijah imitor says

      you are a good analyst and so proud to see one of my country men anysing football this way.
      Thumbs up my man!!

  3. Anonymous says

    He my best!

  4. oriabure says

    to be just and honest lampard makes life hard for mikel .mikel is good at passing in mikel chelsea carer no coach has ever bench him he need the surport of d fans bcos this same mikel refused manu offer and came to chelsea so he loves the team

  5. Kelvin says

    remember in 2005(i think) when Messi first got his recognition in that years’ youth championship. Nigeria came second in that competition after Argentina, Messi was voted MVP of the tournament, Mikel was point is that before Mikel came to Chelsea he was being compared to Messi, after his many assists and creativity in the Nigerian midfield he was welcomed to Chelsea from Lyln Oslo, where he was greatly missed. Mikel was more attack minded then until he met Jose, who converted him to play DM cause of Makelele’s inconstancy and age.i also remember struggling with the role with about 7 red card to his name in the following season.well, all i have to say is, maybe Chelsea fans like myself should also consider what the club has done to the player.for instance, wouldn’t it be save to say that Chelsea ruined his talent.honestly Mikel is not the first to be in such mess look at Torres, he doesn’t know where the post is anymore.look at Quaresma, Deco, Shevy i could go on and on.please let’s give them some credits at least for risking their lives.

  6. Sammy chelsea mwaura says

    I love you mikel…..
    Your support @ DM is owesome

  7. OLUWATOSYN O. says

    You have said the right thing.
    Many cfc fans are ingrate to Mikel.
    He has done a good job for cfc and he is continuing.
    On my behalf, please, tell John Obi Mikel that I Love him so much.

    He only need to improve his shooting abilities.

    He is a good player.

  8. king elijah imitor says

    no matter what anyone says about my compatriot, I will continue to like him and even love him. Mikel is a disciplined players that what most of don’t try to look at. In a squad when you have all your defenders being a goal monger, what do you expect from your “Defend”. Mikel is the only player in the current squad who is so disciplin always ready to do all his best make sure no goal is concede by him.
    I don’t give a shit about what anyone say about him, he’s still the best and let us note this, if we frustate him so much he might leave and if he left, we all are gonna pay for it, cos we don’t have any holding midfielder at our disposal who could play well and also be discplined enough to stay by and cover up for our defenders.

  9. dozie says

    After selling Song to Barcelona, Wenger told the fans that he has searched for a DM but couldn’t find, according to him, that is the most difficult position to find in this modern football. Man United missed out Mikel and bought Anderson, what has been the result, up till today, Man U has never gotten one and clubs like Everton knows how to use that weak point. Why I consider most Chelsea fans as ingrates is that about 90p% of us watched ChelseaBarca last champions League, if any of us fail to recognise his impacts in the face of Xavi, Bosquet and Iniesta, I wonder what we look for. Watch Mikel at Afcon when he played Attacking midfield at AFCON, he humiliated Yaya Toure and Sani Keita. I never liked him signing contract extention, he has gotten all the medal in EPL, He should have moved to Spain.

  10. tim says

    hmmmmm……….. I personally don’t think mikel is that bad as we see him! Just that every player has his weakness and mikel’s weakness show that much when he pair with lampard because lampard does not help! Unlike rami who will tackle and string long accurate passes for the attackers

  11. Pontie says

    Mikel Obi the best midfield ever…

  12. shiloh says

    o! Good to know someone truely recognises the contribution(s) of this young Nigerian central defensive midfielder. I feel he’s had too much crictism for other players bad performance(s) exspeciallly when he’s played along side Frank Lampard.

  13. Kobbyhans says

    Thumps up man, one of the well written pieces i have read in ages now. Hope these people who are against him can realize how useful he is to the squad and let him be. They should back off.

  14. Michael Ladipo says

    I have bn waiting for a day some will say diz and am happy u did!!! Mikel is very important to our game play coz he gives our attackers d confidence to freely attack..when I hear how some of our fans blame Mikel for some games, am like “r y’all kidding? He’s d only one to blame for dis performance?” I pray we don’t sell Mikel coz he will b a great loss! Roman and Emenalo shuld b careful abt whatever decision dey r gonna make on diz gem we have!

  15. indo blues says

    he is shit , he is the weaknesses of chelsea ,, this quote not from me but from rivals team which had against us …. GET THIS !!!!!!

    1. dozie says

      we know when plastic supporters talk. How many goals did we concieved when he left for AFCON,

  16. makinwa says

    i think we should sell him quite frankly …… at least arsenal. ,or man u or juventus and see the difference becos i know this are the kind of team that will come for him ,,, this guy might not be the best defencive midfielder in the world but he sure holds his own … he is got vast experience at top level with chelsea and has understudy great midfielders like makalele, ballack essien, deco,lampard, and he has survived through the seasons with so many coaches … what has those coaches seen in him to lock down a shirt game in game out… consistency, discipline, and playing to the pattern prescribed by the coach and one of the most accurate passer of the ball in europe…

  17. Viqta says

    Thumbs up obi mikel…he’s doing da perfect role of a defensive midfilder….4 real his combination with Ramires is normally da best, indeed a solid midfield…..he may nt be scoring bt performs his role perfectly,…

    1. Marquez says

      I love u. So much Mikel. All does that are dieing for u let dem go to there mama and die cos God has blessing u. If dey know how to play why has Cfc not sign dem. Enjoy ur life man God has really use u as a blessing to ur lovely family

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