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Mikel, the midfield maestro


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Frankly, Mikel has been sublime.

Ancelotti has been encouraging him to play in a more attacking position now Essien has returned; the two of them alternating between the holding position and the 'behind-Lampard role' that was filled previously by Messrs Deco and Ballack.

And it's working. One of the two of them is always on the rampage; but whilst Essien got the goals on Saturday, Mikel has been the star of the season so far.

In the past he has frustrated Chelsea fans with his negative sideways passing; always slowing down the tempo of the game. Whilst his passing has always been excellent (Mikel had a higher pass completion rate last season than any other Chelsea player), he tended to hold up the play and make the 'safe' pass rather than the adventurous through-ball.

But that seems to have changed this season. Mikel was always an attacking player, but was moulded into a holding player by José Mourinho and Avram Grant as the successor to Claude Makelele. Initially though, he was let off the leash; his début against Levski Sofia saw him operating further up-field than even Frank Lampard.

But when Mourinho's experiment with the enigmatic Lassana Diarra failed, the strength and versatility of Mikel fell into his hands.

His transformation into the complete holding player has been slow, but for one so young he has so much intelligence and maturity. Mikel is always one of the first names on the team-sheet for Carlo Ancelotti when Chelsea are playing a 'big game' against the likes of Arsenal - much like how Darren Fletcher does for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Mikel is competent and reliable and rarely puts a foot wrong; just as long as he isn't running one-on-one with Craig Bellamy or Mirko Vucinic!

There has been a change in his play - only a subtle one, but a change nonetheless. And that is in his passing.

When he sees the opportunity, Mikel now makes the adventurous pass. He even takes on the odd shot; he had two decent efforts against West Ham, one of which left Rob Green's crossbar trembling. His pass out to Paulo Ferreira for the third Chelsea goal was instantaneous and inch-perfect, allowing the full-back to whip in the perfect ball for Essien to head home.

Ferreira will get the plaudits for the cross, but he barely had to break strike. Mikel's switch of play was glorious thanks to its simplicity. No 'over the top' pinpoint lob or a 60 yard switch-pass, simply spraying the ball majestically to the right flank in the same sort of style as the wonderful Paul Scholes.

But, unlike Scholes, Mikel can actually tackle.

His attacking intent this season was perhaps best shown with his glorious raking through-ball to Nicolas Anelka in Chelsea's 6-0 win at Wigan; Anelka's run spotted and the perfect pass executed to perfection. The finish was sublime but it was Mikel who was congratulated by his team-mates.

And against West Bromwich Albion on the opening day, he found himself inadvertently setting up Florent Malouda as his scrambled effort in the box after a Scott Carson fumble fell perfectly to the Frenchman who duly opened the scoring.

If Mikel keeps showing the same sort of intent, his 43-month wait for a goal will soon be over.

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Absolutely spot on. I think it helps that he is part of a midfield that includes Essien or Ramires (or both) because Mikel has so many attributes, he is a strong, physical lad with a wonderful range of passing and a good reading of the game, unfortunately speed is not something he has been blessed with but with either of those two in the midfield, Mikel's lack of speed becomes less of an issue. I thought he suffered last season when playing as part of the Lampard, Ballack and Mikel trio because none of the three of them had the ability to chase around the middle of the pitch.

Im glad you refrenced his pass to Ferriera, it was inch perfect, very clever and went almost entirely unnoticed, had Scholes played the same pass we would never have heard the end of it from commentators looking to talk Scholes up at every opportunity.

Mikel has developed so much as a player and its showing this season, in a midfield where Ancelotti is accentuatuing his positives (and there are many of them) and hiding his negatives (speed), along with Malouda he has been our best player and while he will never get the plaudits he deserves, well at least some of us can see just how valuable he is.

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:goodpost: I have long been appreciative of Mikel but his progress over the last year has been outstanding . I think he is developing into

a truly world class mid fielder and of course he is still relatively young. A future captain and a Chelsea legend in the making perhaps..His withdrawal

from the World Cup rather than play carrying an injury demonstrated a maturity which will stand him and Chelsea in good stead in the future.

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.

Ferreira will get the plaudits for the cross, but he barely had to break strike. Mikel's switch of play was glorious thanks to its simplicity. No 'over the top' pinpoint lob or a 60 yard switch-pass, simply spraying the ball majestically to the right flank in the same sort of style as the wonderful Paul Scholes.

But, unlike Scholes, Mikel can actually tackle.

I completely agree, since the beginning of the season, i have been comparing the two players and there is so much resemblance in their play.

I think Mikel is showing a lot of maturity now

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I concur with all the praise about Mikel,it will be interesting to see how he will fare against bigger boys but he was already good enough last year(bar the Inter games).

The fact that he managed to establish himself in a team with so many outstanding midfielders proves his quality.

If we're lucky he may develop into the next Pirlo,his passing range has been impressive for a while now.

Experience will only make him better.

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His passing has always been very good and people are now finally starting to realise it. His composure and strength on the ball is incredible. One of the best young players in the world in my opinion. He doesn't get anywhere near the credit he deserves from most Chelsea fans let alone the neutrals.

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Frankly, Mikel has been sublime.

Ancelotti has been encouraging him to play in a more attacking position now Essien has returned; the two of them alternating between the holding position and the 'behind-Lampard role' that was filled previously by Messrs Deco and Ballack.

And it's working. One of the two of them is always on the rampage; but whilst Essien got the goals on Saturday, Mikel has been the star of the season so far.

In the past he has frustrated Chelsea fans with his negative sideways passing; always slowing down the tempo of the game. Whilst his passing has always been excellent (Mikel had a higher pass completion rate last season than any other Chelsea player), he tended to hold up the play and make the 'safe' pass rather than the adventurous through-ball.

But that seems to have changed this season. Mikel was always an attacking player, but was moulded into a holding player by José Mourinho and Avram Grant as the successor to Claude Makelele. Initially though, he was let off the leash; his début against Levski Sofia saw him operating further up-field than even Frank Lampard.

But when Mourinho's experiment with the enigmatic Lassana Diarra failed, the strength and versatility of Mikel fell into his hands.

His transformation into the complete holding player has been slow, but for one so young he has so much intelligence and maturity. Mikel is always one of the first names on the team-sheet for Carlo Ancelotti when Chelsea are playing a 'big game' against the likes of Arsenal - much like how Darren Fletcher does for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Mikel is competent and reliable and rarely puts a foot wrong; just as long as he isn't running one-on-one with Craig Bellamy or Mirko Vucinic!

There has been a change in his play - only a subtle one, but a change nonetheless. And that is in his passing.

When he sees the opportunity, Mikel now makes the adventurous pass. He even takes on the odd shot; he had two decent efforts against West Ham, one of which left Rob Green's crossbar trembling. His pass out to Paulo Ferreira for the third Chelsea goal was instantaneous and inch-perfect, allowing the full-back to whip in the perfect ball for Essien to head home.

Ferreira will get the plaudits for the cross, but he barely had to break strike. Mikel's switch of play was glorious thanks to its simplicity. No 'over the top' pinpoint lob or a 60 yard switch-pass, simply spraying the ball majestically to the right flank in the same sort of style as the wonderful Paul Scholes.

But, unlike Scholes, Mikel can actually tackle.

His attacking intent this season was perhaps best shown with his glorious raking through-ball to Nicolas Anelka in Chelsea's 6-0 win at Wigan; Anelka's run spotted and the perfect pass executed to perfection. The finish was sublime but it was Mikel who was congratulated by his team-mates.

And against West Bromwich Albion on the opening day, he found himself inadvertently setting up Florent Malouda as his scrambled effort in the box after a Scott Carson fumble fell perfectly to the Frenchman who duly opened the scoring.

If Mikel keeps showing the same sort of intent, his 43-month wait for a goal will soon be over.

Could i of said it any better myself? No i couldn't! :clap:

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uhm...

what should i say? finally?

there are so many ppl that dont get what an player Mikel is, maybe its because they dont understand his role, he was absolutly outstanding this season, hope he keeps on like this, he'll be the best midfilder after the next 2 years, fingers crossed he dont get injured or anything else and his development goes on like over the past 2 yeras.

I was impressed by him the first time I saw him play... what a technichal gifted Player you can find it so rarly if a player is so tall like him, it has been more than once, when mikel was defending the ball against 3 opponent players, getting past them with his technique, and then passing the ball...

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I was once critical of Mikel, but over the last 12 months his stock has risen considerably. He's brilliant, in my honest opinion. Underrated by opposition fans as well, much like Makelele. A true Chelsea star, and a legend in the making.

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So just to put Mikel's brilliance in perspective so far for all you Mikel-haters, check this stat, published by SkySports

Passers Team Passes Accuracy

Scholes Man United 328 89%

Mikel Chelsea 327 91%

Essien Chelsea 314 91%

Yaya Touré Man City 294 88%

Fletcher Man United 279 87%

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Mikel has had a storming season so far, real class in the midfield. Just when everyone assumed the arrival of Ramires would mean a reduced role for Mikel he comes out in the form of his life. He is maturing at the right time and to still be so young....

Do you remember the way Drogba reacted to the sheva signing ? Mikel is reacting the same way, it just shows how competition is good to keep players on there toes !

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i agree with most of the comments up here , mikel has improved a lot specially in his passing game also his composure and strength on the ball is great .

but in all fairness i think part of the credit for mikel looking better this year has to go to another man and it's micheal essien .... mikel last year was blamed for our lack of pace and energy in midfield also us being exposed many times on counter attacks which the main task for a holding midfielder ( to stop oppositions counter attacks ) .

so if you give a look at our matches this season you will find that essien provided mikel with a great cover coming back very quickly in counter attacks and making oppositions midfield always having a lot of uncomfortable time also provided that needed energy and pace in midfield .

although mikel improved his passing , control and technique but defensively he still needs to work on his positioning and the timing of his tackles/blocks .... yes it's better but still not the best.

i rate mikel very highly and i think he is one of the best holding midfielders in the world so i am glad he is here but i just can't see that much of an improvement in his defensive game because sometimes he is not in the right position , sometimes he takes too much time to pressure the opposition or make a tackle and he still needs to work on his short sprint because it's very slow but the good part is i don't happen to find him lazy anymore .

anyway i think mikel's real test is gonna be against the likes of man city , tottenham , astonvilla and everton because against smaller teams mikel won't have a lot of job to do against a supposedly weaker players where we control the pace and the tempo of the game , also against the big four he will have a lot of support from our midfield and wingers in defense , we all know in those big four matches we tend to sometimes have our all 11 players in our own midfield also the big four will not tend to sit back and wait for the counter attack .

but against oppositions like man city or tottenham the problem is we will always be looking to attack and they will defend , they rely heavily on counter attacking and mikel won' t find the same defensive support from midfeilders and wingers that he gets in the big four clashes and as well it won't be easy for him to break those attacks as against westham or wigan .

wish him the best of luck

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