Is It Romeu's Time To Shine?

Is It Romeu’s Time To Shine?

Jon Obi Mikel apologized to Chelsea fans after the Juventus match for his error that led to the equalizer. His exact comments were, “If I want to make up an excuse, I can. But, for me, I gave the ball away. I put my hands up, we move on. I’m sorry about the mistake, but there are no excuses.”

It’s big of Mikel to actually apologize to the fans. But the truth is that he’s been either average or poor for a few games now. He made a somewhat similar error against QPR that nearly gave them the win but David Luiz managed to save the day for Chelsea. However, Mikel wasn’t so lucky against Juventus.

Mind you, I have nothing against Mikel. He was an integral part of our Champions League winning campaign and on his day he is one of the best defensive midfielders around. Problem is, he hasn’t been at his best lately. Which leaves one wondering: should Oriol Romeu be given a chance?

Romeu was a regular under Andre Villas-Boas. In my opinion, Romeu is one of the best contributions AVB made to Chelsea along with Juan Mata, Roberto Di Matteo, Gary Cahill and Eva Carneiro (not necessarily in that order). However, he didn’t feature much during the second half of last season under Di Matteo. That doesn’t take away from the fact that he has talent. And he could very well be the solution to Chelsea’s problems in the defensive midfield area.

Mikel’s major criticisms are that he tends to only pass the ball sideways and also gives it away more often than not. I don’t necessarily agree with the first part. He does indeed pass the ball sideways pretty frequently, but it’s not his job to bring the attacking midfielders into the game. That job rests with Frank Lampard, who has struggled a bit this season. It’s a bit unfair to make Mikel the scapegoat when Lampard has been at fault for often slowing down the game. But the second bit of criticism is spot on. He does tend to give the ball away pretty frequently even when he isn’t under a lot of pressure. The sad part is that Mikel is absolutely brilliant when it comes to making that all-important tackle or interception that breaks down the opposition’s attack and often kick-starts our own. But the mistakes he makes on the ball often cost the team, hence all his good work comes undone.

That’s where Romeu comes in. He provides defensive cover in midfield but is more than useful on the ball. The fact that he is graduate of Barcelona’s famed “La Masia” means that passing is something that is almost second nature to him, something that Mikel sadly lacks. Romeu’s passing range isn’t limited to simply rolling the ball sideways either. He is able to confidently pick out anyone in an attacking position, which can add that extra bit of bite to the attack.

As I said before, Romeu found himself in obscurity during the second half of last season. With Mikel’s form dropping, it could very well be the youngsters time to shine.

#Shayne Dias

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