The battle for No 10 slot

Last updated : 30 July 2013 By Oluwaferanmi Adedeji

The No 10 position is a very important position for every team that plays football, it's highly coveted too by midfielders. Different teams use their No 10 position in different ways depending on what the manager wants.

Jose Mourinho has always used a creative, intelligent and hardworking player in this position at every club he has been. Deco at FC Porto, Frank Lampard during his first reign at Chelsea, Westley Sneijder at Inter Milan and Mesut Ozil at Real Madrid. I believe Jose Mourinho would have enjoyed working with Lampard the most, especially for the number of goals he got from Lampard.

Jose Mourinho has already suggested that 4-2-3-1 formation will be his favourite formation, there's always tactical flexibility with Mourinho and we will surely be seeing other formations for special matches. This article will focus majorly on the 4-2-3-1 formation.

Mourinho has said: "We will play 4-2-3-1 in the first game, my favourite system, though sometimes I change the triangle and play with one in front of defenders and two players up. Other times I play with double midfielders and a No10."

He mentioned names of players who are going to be fighting it out for the No10 role.
"No10: De Bruyne likes it, Oscar likes it, Mata likes it, Eden Hazard likes it. The 4-2-3-1 is a natural system for all these players to play," he said.

Of Juan Mata Mourinho said recently: "Of course he fits into my plans, I have my idea about him, about where he produces better and where he has more difficulty. We will try to help him perform better in those situations. I've always liked a right-sided player to be left-footed. I started with Robben and Duff, then Pandev at Inter and Di Maria and Ozil. Many clubs do it. It's more than a tendency."

That leaves us with three choices for the No10, De Bruyne, Oscar and Eden Hazard.
"I like wingers coming in on the inside for the penetrative movement, for the pass, for the shot. And Juan is the only player we have on the right. On the left, we have Hazard, Victor Moses, Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle."

Eden Hazard's name coming first among the names on the left is far from coincidental, he owns that spot. Hazard is going to feature most where he has been playing for Chelsea, on the left.

We now have two names left in the No10 contention, Oscar and Kevin De Bruyne. Jose mentioned the two of them first anyway. It's good to see that Mourinho isn't considering Oscar on any of the wings.



Oscar Dos Santos is a very talented footballer, intelligent and creative. He is a good passer of the ball, can play killer passes from the No10 position where he regularly plays for the Brazil national team.

Oscar scores beautiful goals and can hit the ball with both feet with a strange technique. His 12 goals for Chelsea last season is a good number for first season. When

Chelsea fans hear his name they remember that great goal against Buffon the UCL last season. Like every player Oscar can have his off-day too but his major weakness is his lack of physicality, he can be occasionally bullied off the ball. Jose Mourinho's training sessions will surely help with this.

Kevin De Bruyne spent last season on loan at Werder Bremen where he featured in many positions. He was their best player and one of the best in the whole German Bundesliga and made the team of the season.

Kevin De Bruyne is a good passer of the ball (he may not be better than Oscar), his deliveries are excellent from set-pieces and he's probably the best crosser of the ball in the team.

De Bruyne has great work rate (probably greater than Oscar). Those who have been watching De Bruyne since his time at Genk will know he takes pleasure in scoring screamers, we saw the excellent goal he scored on the Asia tour. He was brilliant for

Chelsea during the tour, fans were scared when he got injured and everyone is pleased he will be back. He scored 10 goals for Bremen last season. De Bruyne is a complete player, no physicality problems. He may not be able to do what others can do well as well as them both he can at least do all.


I believe form and opposition will determine who takes this No10 spot between Oscar and De Bruyne as both are quality players. Chelsea are in an enviable position having two young, talented players battling for this position.

Both Kevin De Bruyne and Oscar dos Santos have the potential to be great. Competition will only help to bring out the best from both of them and that can only be good for the club.