By: Obiweluozo Martins
With the entertaining midweek clash between Watford and English Champions Chelsea, there were fireworks as players like Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Etienne Capoue was in fine form as well as Chelsea’s Oscar and William with some amazing sleek movement and brilliant touches which ensured an end to end match at the Vicarage Road Stadium with an attendance of 20,910 watching supporters.
However there was another man whose presence in midfield for Chelsea was crucial even though it might not be as ceremonious as he sat very deep protecting the back with a clear duty of making key interceptions. Once again Mikel’s and Fabregas combo in midfield have been appreciable and therefore we key into Mikel performance and what it entails for Chelsea Veteran.
SoccerNet Nigeria evaluate the positivity of Mikel’s Obi performance and outing against Watford in midweek.
REMAIN ON THE SPOTLIGHT
The appearance of John Obi Mikel over the midweek was a good one for the Nigerian as it offers him the opportunity to remain in the spotlight with statistical analysis showing that Cesc Fabregas and John Obi Mikel are the best passers of the ball in the year 2016 notably in the Premier League.
Mikel suffered more time on the bench on the first half of the season but that seems to have been forgone scenario as he is certainly assured of playing games in the first team coupled with the praise and hype generated in the Crystal Palace win which he was tagged as the “African Zidane” by the viewing Chelsea supporters, the more Mikel appears in games it creates opportunity for him to be on the spotlight as the tactical chemistry and new working relationship between him and Dutch coach Guus Hiddink have made headlines in recent week as it is believed that Hiddink have not lost with Chelsea (Mikel) in the team.
Let’s us hope that more positivity would be spoken about the duo (Mikel and Hiddink) after the much United game in a matter of minutes.
KEEP HIS PLACE IN THE TEAM
With the return to first team of Serbian midfield player Nemanja Matic to the first team, it was an opportunity for Mikel to keep his place in the team as the M-duos were paired at the base of the midfield with Matic venturing forward and Mikel doing the cover up work with aplomb.
With the goals growing hard to come by Chelsea poster boy Eden Hazard was called upon with many to the question of who to go off as our minds were pointing at Oscar, Matic and Mikel only for the adventurous Matic to be hauled off for the incoming Hazard.
It was at the point that Mikel was left to anchor the midfield with Fabregas drawing closer for assistance. This new found euphoria for Mikel at Chelsea and the Watford game inclusive will enable him grow in confidence in every game and thus keep him place in the team as the blues struggles to assert themselves in the League table and a starting berth against Manchester United would be a massive reward for Mikel’s performance from Guus Hiddink if he hopefully starts as expected.
AN AVENUE FOR NATIONAL ASSESSMENT
With the poor outing at the Chan 2016 as a result of a 1-0 loss to West African Neighbours Guinea, all attention have been directed to the crucial tie between Nigeria and the Pharaoh’s of Egypt and with Oliseh under pressure to keep his job as his job looks to be on the line with various criticism flowing from direction quarters of the Nigeria football hemisphere, the young manager Oliseh would fancy the chance to start focusing on foreign pros for the qualifiers as regards the compilation of the squad list for the encounter and with Mikel now back in form would surely form a backbone of the team (especially in the midfield).
As Oliseh may be jostling around taking note of Nigerians players he will be handing call up, Mikel’s appearance against Watford will come handy as it offers a mirror of the Chelsea midfield player performance and form and would likely be a platform in the which the players can be duly assessed and call up as Mikel was decent on the night. It proffers for Oliseh the readiness of his players with the Chelsea man (Mikel) in particular.
Watford match was an opportunity for Nigerian (Chelsea) fans at home to catch a glimpse of their hero John Obi Mikel as he lasted the distance in the match in the midweek.
Some impatient Chelsea fans who might have been stalling in watching Chelsea games with the recent unimpressive performances had the chance to see the Nigerian number 10 feature in his number 12 Chelsea shirt as Nigerians are always keen to follow the tips and details surrounding the Chelsea man John Obi Mikel.
It was a good moment to see him in action for some who may have missed the Chelsea game in the past few days or months and may be were attracted to watch their team after the impressive 5-1 win away at Milton Keynes Dons which was inspired by the Brazilian attacking midfielder Oscar. We hope that the Chelsea anchorman Mikel features against United so that his fans would watch him in the high profile match of the weekend with delight all over their mind as the midfielder is looking promising.
NIGERIANS LOVE FOR MIKEL
In the Chelsea Watford game at about 54 minutes played John Obi Mikel sent a crashing shot to the Watford goal which deflected off the Watford defence line and needed a finger tips from Watford goal keeper Huerlo Gomes to keep it out for a corner kick.
This generally generated a massive chant all over the viewing Centre as Nigerians in their loud voice shouted “Obi” in praise of the Chelsea man effort as they displayed a pin-point passion and love which was directed to John Obi Mikel.
Nigerians love for Mikel was not hidden once again as the midfielder’s name was chanted with some section saying Matic should be substituted as they felt Mikel was better placed in the game with momentary loss of the ball from the Serbian midfield enforcer Nemanja Matic.
Mikel attempted an audacious strike against Everton which evaded the Everton goal from the right hand corner as the balls swerved away from goal with amazed Chelsea fans clapping in support of the Nigerian as Chelsea was 2-3 down to Everton. What an equalizer it would have been and this just shows his new discovered confidence at the base of Chelsea’s midfield.