On Tuesday evening against Valencia, Chelsea fans enjoyed a return to the old days.

Petr Cech was unflappable in goal, John Terry was inspirational in defence and Didier Drogba bullied his way to a double that secured a convincing win for The Blues.

Just like during those days under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea were as ruthless in attack as they were misery at the back, and as ever there was an unsung hero flying under the radar.

Oriol Romeu's recent form has made a mockery of those who require a season to bed in at their new clubs. His performances have been such, it's like Claude Makelele never left.

As ever with talented midfielders in the modern day, Romeu hails from Spain, and brings with him all the attributes you'd expect from a man brought up under the ideals of Barcelona.

The consistent selection of Romeu has coincided with an upturn in The Blues' fortunes, with three wins from their last four, including a sublime display in the Champions League decider against Valencia.

Even at 20 years old, it seems that Romeu has already adeptly learnt the art of playing the holding role. He may not be as light on the ground as Makelele, but his stature allows him to bully the opposition.

As shown against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Valencia, Romeu allows those attack minded players around him more license to get forward, while he has assisted the club pick up their first back-to-back clean sheets of the season.

Granted, the club's attacking players have needed little invitation to get forward this season, but Romeu provides an insurance policy ahead of a brittle back-four.

Furthermore, the former Barcelona man's excellent showings has highlighted the troubles endured by John Obi Mikel. It was when the Nigerian was trusted with the role earlier in the season that Andre Villas-Boas' men began to flounder.

The worry if you're a Blues fan must be how long can the club keep hold of him, under the strains of the Catalans' buy back clause.

Pep Guardiola's side have the option to buy Romeu back for £8.6 million next summer or £12.9 million in 2013.

Despite the deal representing good value for Chelsea, they're unlikely to be happy losing a player who could quickly become an influential member of Villas-Boas' new breed.

One note of solace would be the performance of the Barcelona second string during their Champions League win over Bate Borisov, where a side with the average age of 21 swept aside the Belorussians; where would Romeu fit in in that side, let alone the full team?

Keeping Romeu may be out of Chelsea's hands come the summer but its about time this unsung hero started gaining some recognition. Those in England may not have long to appreciate such a talent.

Topics:
#European News
#Chelsea
#Premier League
#UEFA Champions League
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