John Obi Mikel: Chelsea’s Unsung Hero?
With John Obi Mikel being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, Rayyan Dabbous looks at whether the Nigerian ace is one of Chelsea’s unsung hero’s.
With John Obi Mikel being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, writer Rayyan Dabbous looks at whether the Nigerian midfielder is one of Chelsea’s unsung hero’s.
Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, John Obi Mikel has never been given the credit he deserves for the role he plays. He has been criticized, blamed and today he is linked with a move away from west London. It is obvious that the Nigerian is somewhat an underrated player: taking in account his record of silverware with Chelsea.
Mikel has seen it all. In Chelsea’s current squad, he is among the very few players who have actually lifted the Premiership trophy. He was part of the Chelsea team that won the cup double in 2007. Domestically, he has lifted all three titles at least once. Let us not forget both Champions League and Europa League medals that he has collected respectively in 2012 and 2013. To add the icing on the cake, he also won the African Cup of Nations with his national team earlier this year. The only piece of silverware missing from Mikel’s cabinet is the World Cup.
Today, Obi Mikel is targeted by several interested suitors such as Turkish clubs Trabzonspor and Galatasaray and even heavy spending Monaco. All these clubs are ready to hand it to Mikel for his illustrious career so far and give him a pivotal role in their own midfield. My question to Mikel would be “Are you happy at Chelsea?” I think he wouldn’t be able to answer me.
He has enjoyed seven marvelous years at Stamford Bridge. He has featured in more than 250 appearances for the Blues and he has enjoyed playing great football. His breakthrough season was back in 2008 when he was a regular starter for the Blues: featuring in 50 games that year. That number of appearances was higher than those of Salomon Kalou, Deco or even Didier Drogba.
Before, Chelsea’s main asset in the game was its midfield. They had the likes of Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Franck Lampard and Mikel who all used to play together in the center of the pitch. Today, Chelsea’s strength is their unmatchable attack that accommodates the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata. With this kind of attack-minded play, there is not as much room for a normal midfielder to express himself in the game.
This has meant we’ve seen the Nigerian restricted in a Chelsea shirt in recent times. If we compare how he performs for his club and for his country, we can see a vast difference in his influence on the game.
First of all, the amount of time Mikel is allowed to hold the ball for the Nigerian team and what he’s ‘allowed’ to do with it is entirely different from what he is ‘allowed’ to do for Chelsea. When playing at the African Cup of Nations, he was given the freedom to move forward at his heart’s content and directed play with the likes of Uche and Victor Moses.
However, the John Obi Mikel who led his national team to win the tournament is not the same footballer who currently plays for Chelsea. With Nigeria, he is given more space, roles and responsibility. He practically ‘leads’ his team. While with Chelsea, he is just another player in the team. He has one role, to protect the back four and give the ball to the likes of Hazard, etc.
So all in all, John Obi Mikel is somewhat an unsung hero for Chelsea. He has given so much for his team since his arrival at Stamford Bridge but he was never really recognized for his efforts. With him being linked with a move away from west London, I for one would advise him to seek a chance elsewhere to express himself and to fulfill his true potential.
What do Chelsea fans think of Mikel’s contribution to the team? Share your views below.
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