Football has seen its fair share of formations over the years. For some time 4-4-2 was regarded as the most balanced of all. It really depends on the situation though. 4-2-3-1 seems to be the major formation used by teams at the moment and Chelsea is no different.
However since Chelsea adopted the style, it has not really been efficient because a part of the ‘puzzle’ is missing. The’pivot’ – the two midfielders behind the three attacking midfielders are very important. The idea of the pivot is to have two midfielders covering the defenders. One will be more of a defensive-ball wining midfielder. He has the ability to read the game and pass the ball well. All these allow the other midfielder in the pivot to go forward occasionally.
Chelsea currently has Mikel, Lampard, van Ginkel, Essien and Ramires in that position. About four of these players are more adventurous and they are not really the ball winning type. This makes that area of the game a bit unstable…especially when we have two adventurous players playing together [Lampard and Ramires for example]
Apart from the issue of the pairing, Chelsea is facing a little bit of crisis in that area at the moment. Van Ginkel is injured for the foreseeable future. Essien is not Essien anymore. Ramires has been out of form from time immemorial. Lampard is old and it’s showing already. Mikel, while perfect as a defensive midfielder, he offers nothing in attack. So, there’s problem.
This brings us to the obvious solution; sign a Midfielder in January. But what type of midfielder?
Nemanja Matic and Freddy Guarin are obvious choices right now. This is coupled with the fact that both have been linked with Chelsea and the rumours continue to surface.
Chelsea used Matic as a makeweight in the David Luiz deal back in 2011. It looked like a ‘genius’ decision at the time but right now, not so much. Matic has developed is potential under Jorge Jesus in Portugal. His wonderful performances in the 2012/2013 season for Benfica earned him the player of the year award…a bit rare for players in his position.
He’s the perfect anchorman for any team. He’s bullish in the midfield, makes the right tackles and makes life difficult for opponents. He turns defence into attack with his almost magical passes… orchestrates play from the middle. At 6ft 4in he is quite imposing and his aerial ability is fantastic. The only bad side to his game is that he does not score a lot… but he’s no Mikel.
Freddy Guarin is another player that could add something to Chelsea’s midfield. The Colombian, who had a short stint in France with St. Etienne, made his name with Portuguese champions, Porto. Guarin joined Inter Milan in 2011 and has since become a key player for the Italian side.
He’s is slightly different to Matic. He is more adventurous, more creative and scores more goals. He is a typical South American midfielder. He’s skillful and he torments defences. He tracks back to help his colleagues also. The bad side to his game is that he commits fouls and gives away free kicks. He tracks back but cannot really do the defensive work as the way a player like Matic will do it.
Looking at these two especially with the situation on ground, Matic looks like the reasonable option. He’s young (25 years old) and his playing style is exactly what Mourinho needs in his team. Chelsea have Ramires (though out of form) and Lampard already. Adding Guarin (27 years old) to that won’t solve anything.
Matic will give the defence the much needed security and at the same time contribute massively to the attack. He will be expensive compared to Guarin and won’t be available for Chelsea in the Champions League. However, for the short-term and the long-term goals, Nemanja Matic ticks all the boxes.