Since joining Chelsea back in the summer of 2010, Ramires has been the subject of serious doubters who have criticised his worth to the team.
However, I feel that Ramires is essential to Chelsea’s midfield.
Ramires is not renowned for his technical ability as a footballer but has all the makings of a vital player which every successful team needs. This is mainly due to his ability to effortlessly break up the play and create a near instant transition between defence and attack.
For example, Ramires averaged 3.2 tackles per game during the 2012/13 Premier League season - that’s more than Lucas Leiva, Mousa Dembele, Steven Gerrard and Marouane Fellaini. An incredible feat.
He also averaged 1.6 interceptions per game, more than all listed above bar Lucas. He can, however, find himself out of position relatively frequently, but working under Jose Mourinho will no doubt enhance this aspect of his game and stop him from conceding (on average) 1.5 fouls per game, which is certainly on the high side, but this wouldn’t be fair as an argumentative point if I only looked at his positives.
But how effective is Ramires offensively? Well, Ramires averaged 0.8 successful dribbles per game last season - more than Sandro, Mikel Arteta and Steven Gerrard who play in a similar role to him. He also finished the season with a pass accuracy of 85.2%, higher than Fellaini, Yohan Cabaye, Frank Lampard and Oscar.
Now, I’m not even sure one of Michelle Obama’s awe-inspiring speeches could convince you all that Ramires is a good distributor of the ball, but he has adapted his play to opt for the simple ball whenever possible, which is a smart thing to do when you have creative players like Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar ahead of you.
I’m not trying to claim that Ramires is the perfect player, because he is not by any stretch of the imagination, but I am arguing that the criticism he gets is unjustified.
Last season he was the best performer in Chelsea’s midfield yet is used as a scapegoat as people don’t dare criticise Lampard, whose best days are well and truly behind him and people fail to notice Mikel’s defensive errors and attacking incapabilities.
Ramires is the engine in our midfield that we have lacked through Essien’s long spells out through injury; his immense ability to switch defence to attack in a blink of the eye is something that not many players can pull off.
He is fast, a hard-worker and an above average midfielder defensively, Ramires is the man to take our midfield forward (quite literally).
[Stats via Opta]
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