Pivot. A word we have heard all too often this season. So much so that I cringe every time I hear it. It has been an area of major concern for Chelsea this season, and the sad part is that it could have all been avoided. The sale of Raul Meireles and subsequent loan of Michael Essien to Real Madrid (seriously, what the fuck were you thinking with that move?) left Chelsea severely thin in the middle of the pitch. This has led to a revolving door of players that do not fit the position being thrusted into a role they are not accustomed to. The most natural option for the pivot is of course, Mikel. Now, I say of course, because it is common knowledge to any sane person with knowledge about the game that Mikel is a very good player and he fits the mold of a pivot player perfectly. However, Rafa Benitez doesn’t seem to think this way. He has left Mikel off line up sheets time after time. Don’t bother asking why, he’s won 9 titles, he clearly knows what he’s doing. The obvious solution to this little predicament we have on our hands is to switch up the formation. If we do not have players to play with 2 pivot players, why not switch the formation to say, a 4-3-3? Silly question, right? I mean, it’s not like the players we have are better suited to that formation or something. For the sake of my sanity, this write up will not explore other formations because our great Interim One will never switch from his beloved 4-2-3-1.
Frank Lampard, bless his soul, is a Chelsea legend. However, the pivot is not his strongest position by any means. He is an attacking midfielder, I would love to see Lampard spell Mata from time to time and take the reins at CAM. Mata is being run into the ground by Rafa, playing Lampard in his position would be something I would love to see. This is what is called rotation. Something Rafa seems to think he is the master of. Clearly, us minions know nothing, we have not won 9 titles.
Ramires is another dynamic player that is being misused in the pivot. He is a fantastic player, however, his skill set is not suited to the pivot. He has endless energy and can finish with the best of them. Unfortunately, due to our lack of depth, he is one of the better options we have to insert in that role. Playing him alongside Mikel would be the ideal combo in the pivot. Mikel will act as the enforcer as Ramires bursts forward. Here’s a visual:
Now, let’s talk substitutions. If we roll out with this line up that means we have Moses, Lampard, Cahill, Bran, Torres, and Marin on the bench. Let’s pretend for a moment we start making substitutions BEFORE the 80th minute. I know, I know, I’m crazy right? I must be high or drunk or both. What am I thinking? We can take Oscar and Mata off, and bring in Moses and Lampard. Lampard will take Oscar’s spot in the middle and Moses will take his regular place on the wing. I know in the beginning of the article I said Mata plays CAM, which he does under Rafa, but Oscar is not suited to the wing (where Rafa plays him) so that’s why my formation above shows Mata on the wing and not CAM. Here’s how we would look after those subs are made:
Forgive my sloppiness in placing the players but you get the general idea. I feel this would be a great line up. I don’t know why we have not tried to play Lampard at CAM at all this season. That is his favored position after all. We have a lot of amazing attacking talent on this team and we are simply not utilizing them properly. This is just one option of many that we have at our disposal. The options are endless. For instance, we could push Ramires into Moses’ position and play Luiz alongside Mikel with Cahill taking over CB. Rotation with this squad is really not hard because we have so many players that are so versatile most teams would be envious. Unfortunately, we are stuck with an incompetent has been manager that thinks his tactics rule everything and no one else could possibly know better than him because after all, he’s won 9 titles. Suck it.