The Midfield Equation

“Campeones! Campeones! Ole Ole Ole!”- The echoes were heard throughout London when Chelsea beat Bayern on penalties to clinch the ultimate prize; the one trophy that had eluded them, the coveted Champions league crown, had finally been added to the trophy cabinet at Stamford Bridge.

This feat aside, there was always a pressing need which had been stated several times previously; an “ageing” squad had to be replaced, replenished and restored. Add to that the departures of Alex, Bosingwa, Kalou and Drogba, and even a kid could have said that it was going to be a busy summer for Chelsea in the transfer market.

And it did turn out that way. Marin, De Bruyne, Hazard and, most recently, Oscar have joined the Chelsea blue and suddenly the team looks fresher and younger. Still a long time for the window to slam shut and speculation is rife in the media linking Chelsea to many more big money moves. Cavani, Hulk, Schurle and Azpilicueta are a few names that immediately shoot up.

With the acquisitions already made, it’s not difficult to see that the Chelsea think-tank have clearly focused more on strengthening the creative part of midfield. Rightly so, since, barring Ramires and Mata, Chelsea considerably failed in the midfield department last season. The squad lacked depth and the team never really found the best combination. Also, it can be said that Manchester City themselves won the title last season from midfield; Silva, Yaya Toure, Milner, Nasri, and Barry ably carried their team to glory.

With the signings, it is fairly certain that the Club hierarchy don’t want a repeat telecast of the situation. And the acquisitions too have been of skilled, agile players who can create chances and build up moves; something that was sorely missed last season. Goals scored stand in direct proportion to chances created, so it did not come as a surprise to see Chelsea score so few goals last term. Also, it is no secret that Torres is going to be vital to Chelsea’s chances this season. And he cannot score if there is no one delivering those killer balls for him.

Keeping all the above factors in mind, how much importance does the midfield hold to Chelsea’s chances this season?
To simply state it in one line “Chelsea’s midfield can win them the title”. As simple as that! Just a look at the players vying for the 5 midfield slots in RDM’s 4-2-3-1, and you can say that along with immense talent, there’s complete depth as well.

Frank Lampard showed us last season how vital a cog he is in this machine. Mikel, Essien, Romeu and Meireles form the group who would compete for that other spot in the midfield 2 alongside Lampard; all of them are fantastic players with truckloads of talent.

Moving on to the attacking 3, Hazard and Mata would definitely earn their place in the starting 11. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t, because they will be the main creative forces for Chelsea this season. The third open slot would be filled by either Marin or Ramires. Both would bring different styles to the team along with the much needed width. Chelsea even boast of more than capable deputies for this attacking role; Benayoun, Malouda and young Josh McEachran.

Also joining the team after a very impressive display at the Olympics is Brazilian youngster Oscar. At 20 years old, he is easily classified as the most versatile player in this group of players, and this very fact speaks high volumes about the talent and ability of this lad. He can play anywhere in midfield, although my guess is that RDM will use him alongside Lampard with the freedom to amble up the pitch.

Looking at the players, it would be fair to say that Chelsea certainly will be a creative force this season and Fernando Torres, with the sharpness that he’s shown in the past few months, will have his hands full of opportunities. Such a strong midfield is a luxury that only a few teams in the world can boast about, and it is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with this season. It is often said that games are won and lost in the midfield, and it will be the case for Chelsea. For me, the equation is simple. If the Chelsea midfield performs to its ability, they will win the league!
Udit Momaya

Bcom., MBA Aspirant, Chelsea fan - Blue to the core. Supports the Three lions. Has worked as a community manager in the social media frenzy for various IPL teams.