With Chelsea winning the Champions League and the big spending that has come from it, you may forget one of Chelsea’s best performers at the back-end of last season. Chelsea have brought in a lot of attacking talent in midfield, giving a lot of options in the 3 of a 4-2-3-1, however being too attacking would leave the defense exposed. Within the 2, Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel were exceptional in the Champions League final, especially the latter, and with all this new attacking talent, the qualities of Mikel will be paramount in Chelsea’s success next season, and all the statistics from last season show exactly why.
The statistics show that John Obi Mikel is not only a fantastic asset to have defensively to protect the back 4, he is also a competent passer of the ball. Defensively he has a tackle success rate of 83.33% with a remarkable 662 minutes between each defensive error and 88 minutes per each loss of possession. In terms of passing, his successful pass rate of 90% is quite remarkable for someone who is naturally under a lot of pressure in a role which requires composure as well as awareness. Compare this to the stats that Oriol Romeu, who is the next best alternative at DM, has. As we can see, he is worse than Mikel in most areas, with a ground 50-50 win % of 50% compared to Mikel’s 55% and aerial 50-50 win % of 50% again in comparison to Mikel’s 54%. Mikel’s tackle success rate is 83.33% in comparison to Romeu’s 78.38% and his pass completion rate is just below Mikel’s. These stats aren’t to show that Romeu is a bad defensive midfielder, rather to show that Mikel is an excellent one. Romeu in time will become a good defensive midfielder but Chelsea need Mikel in there to provide a solid base for the back 4 and for attacks to start from.
John Obi Mikel is the best defensive midfielder that Chelsea has, the statistics prove that. He is calm on the ball, a competent tackler and rarely makes mistakes. Against Bayern Munich and Barcelona he had to be excellent as Chelsea were constantly under attack, especially at the Nou Camp.
Against QPR at the start of the season, as Chelsea were down to 9 men, he had to fill in as Luiz and Terry bombed forward, doing excellently in the process as my article from last season shows: http://www.eplindex.com/5400/chelsea-qpr-john-obi-mikel-underrated.html.
Mikel is key to Chelsea’s progress and must not be forgotten while the evolution continues.
My name is Kieran Makwana, currently studying Management at Lancaster University, I'm a lover of all things Chelsea Football Club, apart from Ron Gourlay. Follow me on Twitter - @BigMak92
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