The Return of Mikel

So, the African Cup of Nations and the hilarious defending it exhibits is finally over, and coup...

So, the African Cup of Nations and the hilarious defending it exhibits is finally over, and coupled with this will be the return of Moses and Mikel. What this holds for the former is reasonably straight forward, Moses will be going straight back into the team and into the rotation policy of Benitez, as it was before.

The return of Mikel however raises more interesting questions about our midfield because the presence of Luiz in midfield before he left was a very new occurrence. The questions seem to lead on from each other depending of the answer of the previous one. Will Mikel replace Luiz as the more regular holding midfielder? If not are they likely to play together? If so what does this mean for Lampard, and to a slightly lesser extend Ramires? I’ll start at the beginning and work my way through.

Luiz and Mikel are the two greatest sources of split-opinions among the fans, and so naturally this subject is likely to split our opinions too. Who is better in that holding role? Well I think it’s obvious who is more disciplined (Mikel), but while discipline has its many benefits it does not necessarily mean that Luiz is the lesser of the two. Indeed Luiz is far more forward thinking, and not too much so that he neglects his defensive responsibilities, but naturally playing a defensive midfielder with this attitude has its risks. From my perspective, I see two players of equal quality, one conservative, one adventurous.

If Luiz wins the battle for that position, then is there a possibility of them playing together? Perhaps the answer to this is context dependent, since having them both sitting in front of our defence would help us to hold onto a lead if necessary (now when have we needed to do that recently….?) I can see Benitez doing this, he is after all known for defensive strength, even if that hasn’t been the case at Chelsea. If memory serves I think we saw this before Mikel left for the ACON.

Following from this, what would this mean for Lampard and Ramires? It wouldn’t mean as much for Ramires, as he is often used in the three behind the striker, but he would still undoubtedly have less playing time. This is not the case for Lampard though, and so his minutes on the pitch could be significantly reduced. You would wonder why Benitez would do this when, despite arguments over whether Lampard’s overall performances are consistent, he is nonetheless making an impact in every game with goals and assists. Well, Benitez has used crazier tactics before….

I will finish with what is most likely and what I myself want to see, and it just so happens that they are the same thing. I think Mikel is going to replace Luiz, and start there the majority of the time. This kind of takes away from the rest of my thoughts a little, but they nonetheless portray all the other implications for our midfield if you disagree with me.

I think that Luiz is one of Benitez’s favourite players, and I also think that he will happily get both players into the team by playing Luiz at CB (causing more discussion over our CBs and RB but I won’t go into that). Whilst I’m sure we’ll see the two of them playing together there when defending a lead, I don’t think it would be a regular starting phenomenon because two defensive midfielders kind of defeat the point of the double-pivot: one defensive, one free-roaming and ball-playing.

I look forward to Mikel’s and Moses’ return. Congratulations to them on winning the competition, and particularly to Moses on becoming the player of the tournament. Mikel stood out as one of its best players too, and our starting eleven, bench and depth will be far stronger going forward from now on.

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  1. Mikel is shit and lazy. Always passes backwards and will never replace Makelele or Essien. Luiz is new to the role and is a lot better than people think. Plus his personality is a huge lift to the side as he is always positive. #MikelOut I hate him.

    1. @anonymous, u are so full of hate that your life sucks. Did u see mikel's performance @ the AFCON and have u wondered why chelsea has been unable to hold unto leads in mikel's absence. Oh! U really should ask yourself why mikel keeps getting a starting shirt irrespective of the manager in charge

    2. Let d fool say his mind,at least that won't stop mikel from playing his role..he Ȋ̝̊̅§ sure an anti mikel §Φ †̥ speak...if Ɣ☺ΰ are a GƠ̴̴̴̴͡Ơ̴̴͡d football fan and chelsea fan,Ɣ☺ΰ wldnt bench mikel for a player Lɪ̣̝̇к̲̣̣̥ǝ̍̍̍̍̊ luiz..luiz Ȋ̝̊̅§ a fine player but stupid most times,extremely wasteful and over zealous which has cost d team a few times. If mikel passes d ball to d keeper or a defender how Ȋ̝̊̅§ he wrong wen he Ȋ̝̊̅§ only doing what he shld do wen every where Ȋ̝̊̅§ blocked,or may be Ɣ☺ΰ wld be apy to see him dash d oppositions d ball instead of his team mates...mikel has brought stability and strength to chelsea's and *NG*'s mid field over d past few years now, whether Ɣ☺ΰ Lɪ̣̝̇к̲̣̣̥ǝ̍̍̍̍̊ i̶̲̥̅̊t̶̲̥̅ or not mikel Ȋ̝̊̅§ prefered to luiz in mid field as far as chelsea team Ȋ̝̊̅§ concerned..§Φ Ɣ☺ΰ can go †̥ hell if Ɣ☺ΰ want to...

    3. You are so ridiculos, Mikel is the heart of chelsea! Cant you see in his absence chelsea has been considering more goals. It is only a daft coach and person like you dat will bench mikel. If Benetez likes let him bench mikel, all is dat, dat decison will cost him his job.

  2. You are crazy...u must be a lunatic for sayin mikel is lazy.,.if u are jealous of him,let us know....what insolence....

  3. You are stupid oh how can you say so mikel is far better in defensive midfield than luiz

  4. Mikel Had almost 300 passes completed in the just concluded AFCON. . . . .he has incredible defensive quanlity you must be a numbskull to critisized mikel. . . .as a failure. . . . smh

  5. I 4 one prefer luiz 2 start ahead of mikel then U̶̲̥̅̊ can put in mikel when U̶̲̥̅̊ α̲̅я̩̥̊ε̲̣̣̣̥ defendin a lead(but not when U̶̲̥̅̊ need a goal)

  6. Idiot, let me enlighten u if u did nt know!Mikel is d chief owner of chelsea defensive midfield.

  7. mikel is better in dm than luiz to be honest. He passes both through,long,and succesful passes more than luiz,and also protects possesion of d ball more than luiz and never careless. Sentiments apart.

  8. Silly, Luiz is wasteful or don't Ʊ watch d game?

  9. Everyone seems to forget that he did this in the afcon. Not exactly full of quality and easy to make average players look good. You again also forget that we struggled to hold leads when luiz wasnt there due to injury, but on his return we did it perfectly well. I honestly believe luiz can become a quality cdm he just needs a tad more discipline and mikel honestly brings nothing to chelseas attacks apart from slow them up and he us just as prone to a bad error as luiz so its a risk playing both in all honesty. Its time mikel went as his money could go towards someone far better like paulinho

  10. Mind u paulinho is not in the class with mikel...mikel Is far better, you easily forget what he did last season in the ucl..just look at the condition of chelsea since he don't value what you have until you loose it..

  11. Its only a f**l dat will say wasteful luiz is better than mikel,some idiot shud make their findings and get their satistics right bfor sayin rubish,45% of d goals Chelsea hav conceded hav com frm luiz,let's not even go too far,go and watch d wigan game we just played and see how he ballons ball to d crowd like a rugby player,chelsea won only one game in five matches,I guess its Mikel u saw there u dumb!luiz can never make a 20% good pass in a match.In 2010/2011 campaign,Mikel won d best passer in epl,wheather he passes it to d back or front,he is still Chelsea's best dmf,Pep quadiola says dat "as far as u are in possesion of d ball,u can never lose a match".

  12. Take it or leave it, without mikel chelsea can not defend. Chelsea's attacking problem is not of the mid field but of the striker that can not score. If there is anybody to hate in chelsea it should Torres, cos he is lazy and wasteful

  13. I beliv mikel is da best for the H.M position irrespective of what david luiz is doing. We have bn conceeding goals without him and nw his return will do us so much gud.

  14. I am not the biggest fan of mikel but I do believe we are a more well balanced side with him in the team..... I like the attacking players we have signed but don't agree with trying to cram them all into our starting eleven we need someone to do the dirty work also I'm not happy with the amount of quality players on loan all over the place, we've needed striker at times this season and have lukaku at west brom (scoring goals!) and we needed cover for cech and have a world class keeper playing for athletico Madrid and finally we have essien getting games at madrid when we've been crying out for a defensive midfielder of really quality! What is happening with Chelsea these days? If these players were back in our squad i honestly think we would be in a healthier position!

  15. Mikel deserve's respect from chelsea fans. In last year's champ league against Barca n B. Munich speaks loud.

  16. ''mikel is our unsong hero''says di mateo we shuld hav all knw dat mikel is d best chelsea dm right nw

  17. Mikel is the best as far as chelsea is concern



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