Chelsea had a couple of poor results coming into the West London derby against Fulham on Saturday evening so it was crucial that they claimed all three points, even if it wasn’t pretty.
Both Juan Mata and David Luiz were omitted from the 18-man playing squad on the day as Jose Mourinho argues that Mata must adapt his game whilst he was critical of Luiz over his defending in the FC Basel game last week. Oscar has been an early favourite of Mourinho’s and opened the scoring for the Blues, but seeing John Obi Mikel score his first league goal was a real treat.
Mikel doesn’t often get into scoring positions – it isn’t his job – but along with Oscar he was probably one of the best players on the park against Fulham so it was fitting the duo made it onto the scoresheet. The Nigerian made 90 passes against the Cottagers with 92% and 53% of those being forward passes, it’s the sort of possession play Mourinho values and the reason why the likes of Michael Ballack and Ray Wilkins have praised his importance to the side.
Mourinho will feel vindicated over the omission of Mata after Oscar’s man of the match performance but it’s doubtful that it’ll end the debate over whether or not he’s doing the right thing. I think the attacking three should press as a unit and the wide players should track back when necessary, but I am not entirely certain why Mata is being singled out as Oscar has been the only attacking midfielder that is playing well at the moment.
Ahead of the weekend Chelsea had been labelled as a ‘crisis’ club and have already received a lot of criticism despite it being so early in the season. On the same weekend Manchester United were hammered 4-1 by their neighbours City, their second defeat of the season, and they’ve failed to impress in the three big games they’ve played so far, yet it’s ‘early days’ for them and David Moyes, but we should be used to receiving different treatment from the press by now, I guess.