Business as usual at Chelsea, despite the difficult away match. Jose Mourinho is spinning the truth about Oscar and his dive, although what really should be the main issue was his best match this season; Juan Mata is unhappy and on the verge of leaving, while Fernando Torres finally scores a goal.
But where to begin? With the good. Chelsea have won 3-0, keeping them quite close to Arsenal, and in general they’re playing very well recently. The difference between this Mourinho team and the one from the previous decade is that things don’t come easy for them. This isn’t a machine that rolls over opponents right from the start. Chelsea finds it difficult to defend against physical teams and also dominate possession against sides that press high.
When did things start working out for Chelsea? When Oscar and Willian came on. Juan Mata was actually one of the best players on the pitch before getting substituted in the 53rd minute. His combinations with Eden Hazard created quite a few impressive chances for Chelsea, which the team simply didn’t convert. Andre Schurrle was awful and deserved to be taken off, but it’s hard to argue with Mourinho when he got three goals out of his decision.
So while Mata was pissed off on the bench and inched closer towards leaving (which is something Mourinho wanted right from the start), Oscar blazed the pitch. He could hardly get anything wrong. Even the first goal shouldn’t have ended up like that, but when you’re in the zone, nothing matters. Balls bounce your way, and even Fernando Torres doesn’t mess up the easiest of chances, having the luck to be in the right place in the right time. It had nothing to do with positioning or awareness, but sometimes you don’t need those.
Oscar scored a goal himself and added an assist to Willian, as the two provided a lot of speed and a lot more energy in concentrated effort to attack the Southampton goal instead of just passing and trying to create for others. Maybe that’s the big difference between Oscar and Juan Mata this season – Mata creates for others, but with the current squad Chelsea has, a player who tries to shoot and score himself seems to be a lot more useful.
So Oscar has made a big leap forward compared to last season. Physically he’s a lot fitter and handles defenses and pressure much better. Now the problem is to get the diving out of his game. He doesn’t do it every match, but his attempt at free diving in the Southampton box without anyone touching him, doing something of a spin mid air and looking at the referee to try and get a response was embarrassing and worse.
Jose Mourinho tried to make it seem like Oscar was looking for contact and expected contact, but that’s just twisting words. Oscar cheated and was booked for it, but it’s not surprising his manager chose to alter reality once again. On a day with such a dominant win, he can afford to without anyone remembering it too well later on.