What will happen to Ramires? What will happen to our players’ player of the season? Where will he play on the pitch in 2012/13? The question is now relevant as we have not only firmly shifted our formation to 4-2-3-1 but also have bought specialist players for some of those new positions/roles.
Chelsea are going to play 4-2-3-1 in 2012/13. We can also play 4-3-3 given the talent in our squad. But it’s quite clear it’s gonna be 4-2-3-1 for most part. As we need a minimum of three attacking midfielders on the pitch, we bought the finest of the kind in the market – Hazard, Oscar & Marin to support Mata. You can add Sturridge, McEachran & Piazon to the list. For the two midfield roles, we already have four midfielders – Lampard, Mikel, Essien and Romeu fighting for their places.
Now what does this mean for Ramires? Where will he fit in? As one of the three attacking midfielders or as one of the two defensive minded midfielders? The three attacking midfielders behind the striker need to be quick, nimble and preferably small. They are to interchange among themselves all the time. Ramires is not an out-and-out attacking midfielder like Mata or Hazard or Oscar. Neither is he a winger. He has tremendous pace but not the acceleration and super quick movements and change of direction. He needs space while the three attacking midfielders are expected work through the lack of space and create something.
In the pre-season, he has played as the right midfielder and it seemed to work. I don’t think that is his ideal position and I’m not sure if he would train himself into that role. But he has a sweet finish in his boots. The man can score goals like the ones he scored against Spurs and Barca. But he also needs some space to make his runs and beat his man. You don’t see him wrong foot a couple of players or beat them by a drop of a shoulder. He’s not that type of player. In a way, that can lend some variety but if the three attacking midfielders were to be Mata, Hazard and Oscar, that would give a bigger headache for the opposition than if it has Ramires in it.
Again, in the pre-season, Ramires has not played as one of the two defensive minded central midfielders. It was always Lampard and Mikel. Essien came in as a sub. McEachran also played there. Ramires mostly played as one of the three attacking midfielders and mostly on the right side. Can Ramires play as one of the central midfielders? Yes he can but his defensive possession is quite untested in comparison to that of Mikel and Lampard. Not only that, if Ramires were to play this role, we wouldn’t get the best out of Ramires’s abilities. Probably the best role for Ramires would be a right midfielder, a role that we wouldn’t have in our formation anymore. When we play 4-3-3 though, he’d be the best choice for the right midfielder.
If Ramires were to play as one of the three attacking midfielders, that means one of Mata, Hazard and Oscar having to be on the bench. It’s possible that we alternate between Oscar and Ramires but to be fair to Oscar he is the No.10 for Brazil and that’s something. That not only means he’s ready but also means he’s the best choice to operate in that space. If Ramires were to play as one of the two central midfielders, that would mean benching either Lampard or Mikel. We know that Mikel is a world class defensive midfielder at his age and Lampard still has a lot to offer and his game intelligence and influence is priceless.
We wanted squad depth and this is how it looks like. Your best players of the last season not being sure-starters. So what do you think holds in store for our beloved Rambo Ramires? Do you think he’d play in the layer behind the striker or in the layer in front of the defence?