The England centurion rolled back the years against his former club as the Blues secured their first win in the league in November and moved up to third in the table.
In Chelsea’s last league outing, the 2-2 home draw with West Brom, Lampard was played alongside Ramires in central midfield. He played his normal game, often positioning himself in advanced areas of the pitch, but the presence of three attacking midfielders (Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar) in front of him meant that he did not touch the ball in the Baggies’ box. In fact, he only stepped foot in the West Brom area for 1.3% of the game.
It also meant Chelsea were left exposed defensively as they lacked a natural holding midfielder.John Obi Mikel in the holding role, withdrawing Willian from the starting XI and thereby leaving plenty of room for Lampard to venture forwards. The England midfielder did not have to worry about tracking back as much, due to Mikel’s inclusion, as he knew the Nigerian would always be there to shield the back four.
Mikel’s Heat Map shows that he acted primarily as a screen for the defence, which allowed Chelsea’s other midfielders to focus on more pressing matters further up the pitch.Newcastle and home draw against West Brom. Mikel only scored a Performance Score of 13, but when he was in possession he was extremely reliable in feeding the more advanced midfielders, completing 94% of his passes.
When he is played alongside Ramires, there is an obvious lack of cover for Chelsea’s defence. The inclusion of Mikel may not be declared a masterstroke, but it was the perfect tactical decision from Mourinho.
He may be struggling to fit all the expensive attacking midfielders that Chelsea have into the team, but in terms of getting his tactics right, Mikel is vital to Mourinho's system as he is the best defensive midfielder they have at their disposal.
It makes you wonder why they shelled out £30 million on Willian in the summer when it was obvious which position they needed to strengthen.This screenshot was taken from the Squawka Football app - Download it here
- Sports & Recreation
- Jose Mourinho