One of the most undervalued and overlooked players in Chelsea's squad is Oscar Emboaba. The Brazilian may not score every game and from the outside it would look as if he’s hindering Jose Mourinho’s side, but, in reality, it’s completely the opposite. Oscar is pivotal to this current Chelsea side.
Personally I am a massive admirer of Oscar; he’s a fantastic player. The former Internacional star is very unselfish and, quite frankly, doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his off the ball work and general contribution he makes to the team.
One of the biggest assets of Oscar’s game is his pressing. Without him, Chelsea lack their high pressing and almost lose the midfield without him and his non-stop hassling. He allows Nemanja Matic to sit deeper and provides Cesc Fabregas with the room to play his killer passes and create.
Boss Mourinho clearly appreciates Oscar’s pressing and his work-rate without the ball as he's featured a lot this season and past players were frozen out due to Mourinho's trust in the Brazilian.
One of his best games in a Chelsea shirt came against Juventus in the Champions League. Besides the incredible goal he scored, he managed to restrict the time Pirlo got on the ball reducing his creativity and overall influence on the game, which is obviously crucial when facing any side with the Italian maestro in it.
The defensive argument to this is that Fabregas could do the same job. The harsh truth is he can’t, he’s not that type of player. Fabregas doesn’t have the skill set to play there - he's poor under pressure and struggles to dictate the play in that area of the pitch.
With the ball at his feet Oscar can be dangerous and we’ve seen this on a number of occasions (remember his goal against QPR?). His technique is superb. Once he’s received the ball his first thought is a generally positive, attacking one. This season he has a pass completion ratio of 83%. Impressive, right? Even more impressive when you find out that 72% of these passes have been into forward areas.
Jose Mourinho is a genius, we all know that. He uses a Barcelona-esque six-second press, aiming to win the ball back as soon as possible after losing it. The turnover of possession in dangerous areas allows Chelsea to push on and ultimately score. Oscar’s pressing creates these chances. The intelligence he possesses at just 23 is superb and shows the maturity of the player.
When you next watch Chelsea, have a look at Oscar very closely. You will appreciate him a lot more for the hard shift and grafting he puts in for the team. He's not your typical Brazilian number 10, that's for sure.
By Callum Read – @