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In a high line, the midfielder protecting the back four needs to be able consistently tackle and intercept the ball.
John Obi Mikel isn't a defensive midfielder—more so a deep-lying midfielder.
So for a few games, André Villas-Boas had Mikel, who couldn't tackle; David Luiz, who lost his bearings every second game; José I can't defend Bosingwa and John Terry trying his best in a system that exploited his pace.
I do feel sorry for Mikel because he's sacrificed his statistics and played a role he's never wanted to play for six seasons.
Before he transferred to Chelsea (which in itself was a debacle because he had signed for Manchester United), he was a talented playmaker.
In Samson Siasia's 4-1-3-2, Mikel was the central attacking midfielder and I need not remind you that he was second-best player, behind Lionel Messi, at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The FIFA Technical Study Group listed Mikel as an outstanding player and praised his vision.