Jose Mourinho breathed a sigh of relief after his team managed to brush aside the challenge of FC Porto and progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League as table-toppers.
The 2-0 win against the Portuguese team gave the manager and his team some much-needed confidence, as they attempt to stabilise their torrid start to the season.
On display were potential revivals for Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, as both players showed traces of last season’s spectacular form. Meanwhile, they were compact in defence and lethal in attack, and, if only this performance was taken into account, the Blues could be considered as genuine contenders for the Champions League.
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Sadly, the stellar performance of Brazilian midfielder Ramires went largely unnoticed as he remained the unsung hero.
Ramires should start more
A few seasons ago, the Brazilian was the mainstay of the Chelsea midfield. He was an instrumental part of their Champions League-winning campaign of 2012 and is fondly remembered for his audacious chip over Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes in the semi-final.
The 28-year-old has been a massive hit at the club since he joined from Benfica in 2010 - scoring 38 goals in all competitions for the London side so far.
However, he has somewhat fallen out of favour at Chelsea following Cesc Fabregas' arrival from Barcelona. The Spaniard settled quickly and had a telling impact in bringing the Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge in 2015.
Fabregas was the creative force in Chelsea’s midfield last season - providing 18 assists and consequently pushing Ramires down to the bench.
This season, however, is a completely different story at the Bridge. Mourinho’s men are languishing in 14th position at the moment with several of their standout performers from last year struggling to perform to the same standard.
The performances of both Nemanja Matic and Fabregas have been unrecognisable in particular. The manager himself has indirectly scrutinised his players, particularly the midfield, for their lacklustre showings.
With his existing squad unable to provide solutions for the club’s dismal League games, it is about time Mourinho turns to the bench.
Ramires has looked promising and threatening in his limited appearances so far and must be given more chances to shine if Chelsea still have ambitions to finish in the top four.
The work rate and commitment that he brings to the table is the key factor why he should be picked over other midfielders like Ruben Loftus-Cheek or John Obi Mikel. His dazzling display against Porto should have been enough to claim a spot in the starting line-up for the upcoming tie against Leicester.
Cesc Fabregas' woes
Fabregas doesn’t seem to be all that magical this season and a large part of Chelsea’s faltering start to their title defence can be attributed to the Spaniard’s underwhelming performances.
Last December, he was being hailed as one of the best transfer swoops in the club's history, fast-forward twelve months and there are already reports suggesting his premature departure in the January transfer window.
In his fifteen appearances so far, Fabregas is yet to open his account for the season and has provided a meagre two assists. He looks tired, totally devoid of confidence and can't seem to find any momentum.
The Spaniard’s poor showings are something that Ramires should capitalise on if given a chance.
The Brazilian impressed against Porto and must now be used regularly in the domestic league as well by the manager. His experience and loyalty to the club could be a telling factor this campaign.
Jose Mourinho’s fortunes could take a turn for the better if he does decide to make this slight midfield tweak more permanent.