Ramires is a player who when initially coming to Chelsea came under a lot of criticism, he seemed lightweight, some described him as a ‘headless chicken’, however his vast improvement in the second half of the season has continued in to this, he arguably looks like our best midfielder at the start of the season, he’s a good tackler of the ball and he makes some remarkable runs on the counter attack, this season the best example of that is his run for the penalty against Norwich. So how and in what ways has Ramires improved?
Last season Ramires really struggled at the start of the season, one game that can be remembered more than others was the loss to Man City away from home, for the goal he was shrugged off the ball and looked lightweight, his passing was reasonably poor and didn’t offer enough going forward, in comparison, this season he flourished against Norwich at home, although the opposition is vastly different in class the change in Ramires’ performances are evident as well as the role that he plays in the Chelsea team.
As we can see from the chalkboard above Ramires has changed his role in the Chelsea team, against Manchester City you can see that he is more central, as well as being more defensive, a lot of his passes against City were in his own half and were through the middle operating centrally in a midfield three but as the season progressed his role in the side changed, his energy was recognised and started to become a regular in the side, against Manchester United at home he effectively worked on the right of a four man Chelsea midfield using his energy and defensive qualities to snuff out the threat of Nani. Although not a natural right midfielder he certainly grew in to the role and as we can see on the chalkboard his role was more progressive than when he started at Chelsea.
As we can see defensively he has improved in some areas, his ground 50-50s have vastly improved from 42% to 67% and his tackle success remained at 100%, the defensive side of his game though isn’t the area where he has improved the most, as we can see from the graphic below, he has improved his passing greatly as well as being more attacking.
As we can see, the change in passing is quite evident, against Norwich he only misplaced 5 of 38 passes having a near 87% pass completion, in open play his passing is even more impressive, only missing 3 of 36 passes having a remarkable 92% pass completion. Against Manchester City last season both statistics are considerably worse, having a 74% pass completion. Also as he takes a different role within the team he creates more crosses, 2 compared to 0 and also created 1 chance and having a shot on target compared to none against Manchester City.
So in conclusion, the contrast from the start of last season for Ramires is remarkable, his change in position has made him more attacking and his overall game has improved greatly in the year that he has been in English football. Many Chelsea fans would argue that Ramires is Chelsea’s most in-form midfielder, however with Meireles and Mata coming in the competition for places in the Chelsea side has increased further and if Ramires wants to keep his place in the side he needs to continue his rich vein of form.