Oscar must be more consistent or risk being sold by Chelsea

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Football News

Jose Mourinho made more than a few interesting comments last season, but there is one that particularly sticks in the mind given recent events. 

It concerned Brazilian playmaker Oscar, who he felt wasn't pulling his weight as Chelsea's title challenge imploded around them. 

"He arrived in the crucial moment of the season in a down," he explained. "Injuries, couldn't train, was trying to arrive to the game but didn't, was a doubt for the game, the game was too big to play with a doubtful player, so he arrived in the crucial moment of the season in a low.

"I can imagine, in a couple of weeks, he will be in a high and during the World Cup he will be in a high."

Form issues

He also added that he felt that youngster's form was too 'up and down', despite a fine start to the campaign which ultimately ended Juan Mata's time at the club. 

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Mourinho often says plenty of things for effect but there was truth in his words when he addressed the Oscar issue; he had tailed off badly and struggled to impact games using his very obvious gifts.

So it was something of a surprise to see him flop at the World Cup; it must be said he was played out wide which isn't his natural position, but he was given a chance in the middle against both Germany and Holland and failed to produce much, despite their being mitigating circumstances against Jogi Low's team.

World Cup woes

Across the tournament in general he didn't particularly shine; his pass success rate hovered around 77% which isn't overly eye-catching, his key pass rate was down on his Premier League and Champions League average (1.2 compared to 1.5 and 1.3 respectively) and his average shots tally was down too.

He did of course manage two goals and two assists in six games which is an eye-catching statistic, but his first goal against Croatia - which he admitted was a tired top-poke - should have been saved by Stipe Pletikosa, while his other strike was a meaningless effort in the dying minutes against Germany.


Now, given his age and obvious potential to grow, plus his willingness to work hard which Mourinho loves so dearly, Oscar should have a bright future at Chelsea. But there's one problem for him, and his name is Eden Hazard.

There often comes a time in certain player's careers when it is time for them to transcend their position; now feels like that moment for Hazard. Think Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo - eventually both grew tired of being marginalised out wide and having their impact limited by being double-marked, so were put in the middle to roam free and find space. That happened to Eden Hazard at Lille, and before he arrived at Chelsea he spoke of a desire to play as a number 10. 

Middle ground

His goals and assists last season show he can play there; Mourinho had an issue with his work rate but he may be more willing to close down men and put in a shift in a position he's more comfortable in the ploughing a furrow on the wing. He dazzled at times last season, and scooped the PFA Young player award, so the attention on him is going to be even greater than last time round.

Given that Oscar appears to be in a lengthy slump in form, moving Hazard into the middle could make a lot of sense. He would flourish with room to roam, plus he will have Cesc Fabregas making surging runs forward from behind him next season; those two could make a deadly pair. Chelsea struggled to break down teams at the end of last season, so some thrust from the middle of the park will be welcomed this time round.

Oscar arrived at Chelsea as the golden boy and he's enjoyed some truly memorable moments. However as those become less and less frequent he has to worry about his starting spot. He has to find some consistency in his game, otherwise Mourinho decide to unleash Hazard. Then, the Brazilian might get an idea of how Juan Mata felt last season.

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Eden Hazard
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