In the aftermath of Saturday’s 5-0 home mauling at the hands of Chelsea, Swansea City manager Garry Monk apologised. He didn’t just apologise to the Swansea fans for the manner of their defeat, as you may expect following a game where they were dead and buried after 36 minutes, he apologised to his opposite number Jose Mourinho for not making a suitable game of it. All very noble, but he needn’t have bothered.
Perhaps it should be his opposite number who should be apologising to Monk. Mourinho would never have done so, but to say sorry for having such a complete set of attacking players at his disposal wouldn’t be out of context, especially considering the way in which they combined to devastating effect at the Liberty Stadium.
Having too many good players is deemed a nice problem to have for a manager. With the array of talent available you still need to find a workable system, making sure that each individual player’s strengths combine to become much more than the sum of their individual parts. Mourinho is the man for the job, and his team’s display at Swansea showed the fruits of his labour.
That’s what you have with this Chelsea team. Each player possessing a particular individual strength that they bring to to the party each and every week.
Diego Costa, the nuisance. The sniper’s eye, a deadly finisher. Eden Hazard, the box of tricks. A dummy here, a drag-back there. Cesc Fabregas, the total package. An assist-machine, covering every inch of ground.
Then you have Oscar. The silent assassin. A jack-of-all-trades, a master of them all it seems too. Not normally one to immediately catch the eye, he quietly goes about his business whilst those around him loudly take the plaudits. A Mourinho godsend.
Oscar is every bit as important a cog as anyone else in this Chelsea team. Alongside fellow Brazilian Willian, both seem to have escaped attention despite playing key roles for their manager. They do the dirty-work better than anyone, and wouldn’t be in the team if they didn’t.
For Willian, if he had more accomplished shooting boots he may draw more praise. According to WhoScored he averages 1.8 shots per game, only Costa, Hazard and Oscar have attempted more. Disappointingly though, he has only one goal compared to that trio’s combined haul of 31.
In his own silent style, Oscar has been racking up some impressive statistics. Six league goals so far, with the Swansea game recent evidence of his skill in that department. He also has seven league assists which, excluding Fabregas, is more than every other Chelsea player including Hazard.
The manager demands a certain edge from his players in all areas of the pitch, but if you are looking for a more complete attacking midfielder than Oscar, combining physicality and eye for a tackle alongside the more obvious offensive traits, you’ll struggle to find one.
The silent assassin did abandon his moniker for a split second at the weekend, letting out his frustration after substitute Andre Schurrle nicked a hat-trick from the end of his toe with the Swansea goal gaping.
Speaking of nice problems to have, missing out on an away hat-trick in a 5-0 victory is up there. Being a key component of this Chelsea attack is surely up there too.