Is Mikel Filling The Makelele Role?

I’ve watched John Obi Mikel with a lot more interest this season – largely because Makelele had to be one of my favourite Chelsea players and having raised the question of whether anyone would fill that role, seeing  even the early signs of Mikel starting to do that has been pretty good stuff to watch.

Makelele was an absolute master in the holding role – hence the name, obviously – but he’d been doing it before he came to Chelsea (albeit fairly late in his career), and to see a 21-year old Mikel showing the first signs of growing into the role is pretty impressive. His contribution to Chelsea this season, in exactly the same way as Maka’s usually was, tends to be overlooked and that’s why I keep an eye out for it.

His mistakes are certainly highlighted and the minute he goes in a little enthusiastically, it’s only natural tongues start clucking given his previous disciplinary record but for the most part, he’s clearly trying to rein that side of his game in.

He certainly got a backlash after the Roma game, and maybe his mistakes warranted it but it’s important to look at what he has done for Chelsea this season.

Filling Makelele’s boots is a big ask for anyone, but for a 21 year old to come in with nowhere near the same level of experience and not only patrol the midfield enough to shield the defence but also to be in the right place at the right time to start counter attacks – and to do this consistently – is an even bigger ask. And yet whilst everyone was busy focusing on what Didier Drogba brought to the game against Cluj, it was exactly this contribution from Mikel that was overlooked.

I genuinely thought we’d be buggered once Makelele left, so maybe I’m just happier than most to see Mikel making such a decent job of it, although his contract negotiations would suggest otherwise.

I can’t help wondering what’ll happen when Essien comes back though….


4 Responses

  1. You’ll be moaning then too no doubt.

  2. I might be D yeah, will you still be making constructive comments then too?

  3. Essien will start again once he is fit.

  4. i sit in matthew harding upper and personally think mikel has been very good. jus tell him to stop shooting

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