Meireles adds creativity to Chelsea midfield

by Andrew McCarten

The deadline day addition of Raul Meireles from Liverpool will add a crucial link between the defensive midfield and the attack for Andre Villas-Boas’s side, perhaps not seen since Michael Essien’s best years for the Blues. Meireles was Roy Hodgson’s lone bright spot during his ill-fated spell with the Reds, and his addition from Porto last summer proved to be a success, with the midfield maestro playing a crucial role in reversing Liverpool’s early season slump once Kenny Dalglish took over.

Meireles contributed five goals and five assists, and was able to both protect the back four and play a pass to unlock the defence to spark counter-attacks from a deep-lying role. John Obi Miklel has proved to be a reliable defensive midfielder, able to play the role of midfield disruptor quite well. But for all his defensive qualities, the Nigerian has struggled to contribute on the counter and in pressing play, and is seen by many supporters as a bit one dimensional. To date, he has still yet to score for Chelsea since joining the capital club in 2006 from FK Lyn in Norway.

Meireles, on the other hand, is a strong defensive player who can throw in tackles and break up attacks, but has a penchant for scoring goals, and is a ready made component of his countryman’s tactical system. He is the complete player needed to enhance Chelsea’s midfield and team as a whole, the physical pivot that can link a strong back line with a dangerous front line.

Youngsters Josh McEachran (18 years old) and Oriol Romeu (19) may also be adept at this role in time if given a more frequent chance, but Meireles has experience at the highest level, having made 47 senior appearances for Portugal, and winning the league 4 times in a row during his time with Porto. His arrival at Stamford Bridge likely means that Villas-Boas, his manager while at Porto, sees him as an essential part of Chelsea’s plan to take back the title and challenge for the Champions League, a missing piece if you will.

Manchester remains the early favorite to house the trophy this year, with United and City looking every bit the part so far. But with a new philosophy and renewed optimism, it would be foolish to count out the SW6 outfit in the title race.

6 Responses

  1. bob says:

    “Meireles, on the other hand, is a strong defensive player who can throw in tackles and break up attacks,”

    *snigger*

    Someone clearly wasn’t watching him play last season. He absolutely hates to tackle, shies away from every 50/50 and doesn’t even bother jumping for aerial balls.

    Also, I’m not sure where you got your deep-lying role stuff from. He never played a game there under Kenny.

    Good player, just not at all the one you’ve described.

  2. You must be watching a different Raul Meireles, because the one that played for Liverpool wouldn’t tackle to save his life.

  3. Nicky says:

    Are you American?..
    You don’t seem to know much about football or the positions people play in..

    favorite.. (favourite)

  4. Tony says:

    Are you serious, tackling?

    Besides, AVB was manager of Meireles for what, 2-3 months. Get your facts right, before contributing to the rubbish articles this site produces.

  5. Yuri says:

    Hahaha, last year was Villas Boas’ first season in charge at Porto. last season was Raul Meireles’ first season at Liverpool.

    Put 2 and 2 together, bro.

  6. Andre Villas-Boas was only in charge of Porto for a month before Meireles was sold, so never really coached him.

    Meireles isn’t a big tackler either, only recording 79 tackles last season of which he won 55 – good enough for 21st on the list (of midfielders) way behing Lucas Leiva who attempted 172 tackles, winning 111.

    Saying that, he may turn out to be a better buy than Modric in Villas-Boas system of ball retention, as Meireles is an efficient playerwho provides through balls and key passes with significantly less touches:

    http://footballfollower.com/football-blog/raul-meireles-better-buy-luka-modric/

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