Brazilian youngster Oscar has been back to his best this season, recovering from a poor close to last term - and Brazil’s trouncing at the World Cup - to become the fulcrum of Jose Mourinho’s new Chelsea side.
Praised for his attacking flair, the 23-year-old has proven himself time and time again to be more than a Brazilian playmaker, with defensive duties at forefront of his game, and his work rate from the number 10 position makes him a key part in the high-pressing system the Blues have started to utilise this season. His presence in the midfield affords Cesc Fabregas the time and space he needs to dictate the game, whilst also having a say in the remarkable run of goalscoring form enjoyed by the West Londoners this season - registering three goals and two assists in nine Premier League appearances.
His importance to Mourinho’s future vision of the Blues was outlined even further on Monday, when it was confirmed that the £19.35 million signing from Internacional had agreed a new contract, signing his future to Stamford Bridge until 2019.
It capped a great week for Oscar, who played a key part in Chelsea's victory over Liverpool that extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points, and their unbeaten run to 17 games in all competitions, and Blues legend Pat Nevin was quick to praise the Blues number eight in the aftermath of the game.
Speaking to the official Chelsea website, Nevin said: “Oscar was detailed to ensure that either Gerrard didn’t get on the ball or when he did, he had no time to get his head up and spray passes around the pitch.”
Apart from the opening exchanges of the game, in which the Reds dominated, Chelsea had near-full control of the midfield, and Nevin expressed his belief that Oscar is world-class when it comes to playing a pressing game.
He added: “Some Kopites might have complained about the former England captain’s limited effect on the game, but Oscar for all his world-class attacking qualities is also world-class at closing down and tackling high up the field. It was a master class in doing the job of shutting down an opponent.”