At the end of the transfer window all Chelsea eyes were fixated on a potential move for Luka Modric, the saga of the summer some would argue, a battle of will between player and club, however when it came to it Raul Meireles was the player that eventually moved to Chelsea in a surprise £12m from Liverpool to Chelsea, some would argue that this isn’t the type of player Chelsea need however he is a player who is capable of defending and attacking, being an able tackler as well as being able to create goals and score them.
In the game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge most will remember his display as he scored a goal but also put in a decent shift, over the season he did well, scoring 5 goals as well as creating 5 goals. As we can see from the chalkboard above Meireles is an able passer of the ball only misplacing 6 of his passes, based on the evidence he is comfortable in both halves, he can be attacking as well as being able to help defensively, with Mikel, Ramires and Lampard seeming to be a settled three in midfield where would a player like Meireles fit?
Mikel and Ramires have had decent starts to the season, especially the latter who made a fantastic run in order to gain a penalty against Norwich for Lampard to dispatch. Lampard on the other hand hasn’t really regained the form of the double season, troubled by injury and age he sometimes slows the midfield down and this seems to be a problem, therefore it’s arguable that Meireles would replace Lampard in a midfield three. Again, I’m going to refer back to the game against Liverpool at home and do a statistical comparison (courtesy of the Stats Centre) of the two.
On the left is the statistics of Meireles while on the right are the statistics of Lampard, the differences in styles are clear, Meireles is more of an all round midfielder while Lampard is an attacking one, Meireles made two tackles and successfully getting the ball on both occasions, Lampard made one and didn’t. In terms of passing, Lampard made more passes however Meireles has a better pass completion with near 84% in comparison to Lampard’s 79%, in open play his pass completion rate was even better at an impressive 89%. When it comes to attacking though there are clear differences, Meireles made no crosses while Lampard successfully completed two, Lampard also created three chances while Meireles only created the one in this game.
What is clear from the analysis of this game is that Meireles last season was arguably a better overall midfielder, he had 79 tackles over Lampard’s 53 over the whole of last season and had 69 interceptions compared to Lampard’s 30. However Lampard was more of an attacking influence, despite a dip in form and injury Lampard still managed to score 10 goals compared to Meireles’ 5. It is arguable whether Meireles deserves to start but his main rival for a starting place seems to be Lampard based on current form, some parts of Chelsea fans want Lampard to take more of a ‘Giggs role’, as he gets older he becomes more of a squad player making an impact coming off the bench, Meireles could arguably be his successor as the attacking midfielder in the trio although Juan Mata could also feature in what looks like a positive future for Chelsea’s midfield.