It is nearly a year since Oscar dos santos emboaba junior joined us for €30 million from Internacional. Many were excited by the arrival of the youngster as we paid a lot of money for a player that’s less known in comparison to Hazard or Neymar. He didn’t have a starting place right from begin, but his career at Chelsea dramatically changed after the night versus Juventus in the Champions League, scoring two magnificent long shots. Oscar has played a total of 63(!) games for Chelsea in all competition and he forms together with Hazard and Mata our “MaZaCar”.
Born in Americana (9th of September 1991, age 21), Oscar already had a chance to prove himself at FC Sao Paolo before turning 18. He joined Internacional in 2010 due to contract conflicts, his agent claiming that Sao Paolo didn’t pay Oscar’s salaries. He played an important role at Internacional, but he really got the attention of European clubs at the under-20 World Cup, scoring a hat-trick in the final to win the trophy for Brazil. He also played at the Olympics 2012 for Brazil after his transfer to Chelsea was confirmed.
Position/Style of play
Oscar is a midfielder with strengths in a little bit of everything: Creativity, playmaking, passing and a bit of defensive qualities. The wings don’t suit Oscar in my view because of his decent but not great dribbling and poor crossing. He was often used on the wings at both Chelsea and the Brazilian national team nevertheless, but not as a traditional winger, rather as a modern one with the aim to cut inside.
I see him clearly in the middle, either as a deep central-midfielder up to a position behind the striker. Oscar is a very creative midfielder with a good eye for others. His short and long passes are his strengths. He makes the game more fluent and faster by his ability to switch quickly from defence to offence and vice versa. He’s got the potential to dictate and control a game.
There’s a lack of efficiency in Oscar’s defensive work, but he tackles a lot and consequently wins a decent amount of balls for an attacking midfielder.
Oscar is a very creative player with a great vision and he is very strong in passing. He’s got a nice touch on the ball and his head is always up to search for the right player. He’s got the qualities for important trough- and key passes.
Defensive work rate
It’s noticeable that Oscar wins more possession than our other attackers, whether it’s Mata, Hazard (who improved his defensive work a lot), Moses or Marin. However, Oscar isn’t the best marker and tackler(mainly because of his stature), but his overall work without ball is very high.
In combination with his defensive work rate and creativity in the offence, Oscar has got a plenty of game intelligence. At attacking, Oscar doesn’t just wait for the ball; he passes, moves and is always there to support other players. He brings a lot of dynamics in the game, quick movements and fast passing. And at defending, he’s got a good anticipation to intercept and read the opponent’s game.
Efficency in moving at defending
He runs a lot and also wins a decent amount of balls from the opponent. But is his defensive work effective? Not in my eye. It feels that he makes a lot of challenges, but the ratio of him to win the ball isn’t very high. The negative consequence of running so much is logically his stamina and fitness. His concentration and high work rate is difficult to hold the entire game.
An obvious reason that may explain why Oscar’s goal scoring record is better in the Champions League than in the physical BPL. Four goals in 33 league games are very little for an attacking midfielder. Surprisingly, 2 of his 4 BPL goals were scored with his head (vs Tottenham and Liverpool), one was a penalty (vs Aston Villa). Also in game, his slight stature comes into notice in dribblings or tackles.
Something for the future (?)
I really want to see Oscar playing the pivot midfield role one day. Luka Modric, Steven Gerrard or Tom Cleverly: All skilled attacking midfielder who were moved deeper to a central or defensive midfielder. Oscar still got a lack of defensive intelligence and physical attributes to play this position, but it’s possible to train these aspects by playing him more often in the double pivot.
His effort in the defence and creativity in the offence could really make him a world-class player as a deep lying playmaker, connecting his defensive and offensive duties.
€30 million is a very high fee and it is difficult to say that he really justified his €30 m buy (yet). He can become absolutely priceless if he can succeed as a deep lying playmaker. Oscar has big duties in hands as he will probably play as the Maestro of the Brazilian national team in a year at the WC 2014. At Chelsea, it’s more difficult to play a more influential role for him as he doesn’t shine as much as Mata or Hazard does. For the future, I really hope that someone gives Oscar more time to play the deep lying playmaker role because I see a lot of potential for him playing in the double pivot.
Do you want to see Oscar in the pivot? What is your opinion on Oscar after a year? Leave me what you think in the comments! Jonny (@jonny9fan)