Oscar Was Chelsea's Star Man vs. Hull

Joe Krishnan@joekrishnanContributor IAugust 18, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Oscar of Chelsea celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

It was a case of déjà vu for many fans and journalists as Chelsea got off to a winning start under Jose Mourinho for a second time with a 2-0 victory over Hull City.

The 'Special One' would have been satisfied with his side's efficiency, playing some exciting, attractive football in the first half which saw the Blues enjoy almost total dominance at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard ensured the game as a contest was over by half-time, and it could have been more if it wasn't for Allan McGregor's save to deny Lampard from the penalty spot after just five minutes.

A performance very much in the style of the old Mourinho, Chelsea decided to take their foot off the gas after the interval and allowed Hull to get acclimatised to the game, but Steve Bruce's men could not muster an opening.

Many expected the Portuguese coach to start with the 'Mazacar' combination of Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, but as a result of the midweek international friendlies, Mata was rested due to a long-haul flight from Ecuador.

It gave Kevin De Bruyne the opportunity to impress on his competitive debut for the club, despite moving from Belgian outfit Genk 18 months ago in a £7 million deal. And the Belgium international showed why he was a worthy selection, producing a solid performance on the right-hand side. 

Eden Hazard showed glimpses of his incredible ability, playing a key part in the opener and was generally a livewire throughout the game, giving Ahmed Elmohamady countless problems throughout the afternoon.

But perhaps the most underrated of the attacking trio, was the Brazilian starlet Oscar who stole the show with an assured performance in his favoured playmaker position, and Mourinho would have been pleasantly surprised with his young prodigy's level of maturity.

From the off, the 21-year-old displayed the kind of performance which has rightly seen him compared to Kaka when in his prime. Dropping into pockets of space, Oscar was a constant menace for central midfielders David Meyler as he floated around the channels.

Even on the ball, he looked like he had picked up some more confidence from his time away with Brazil, taking on his opponents when last season, it was more a rarity.

In the first few minutes, the former Internacional man was creative hub for Chelsea, confidently spraying passes out to the wings as well as interchanging exchanges with Ramires and Frank Lampard. 

It was surprising to see the Brazil international so fresh, considering his lack of playing time in preseason due to his Confederations Cup commitments. But he looked dynamic, presenting himself as a danger in possession and rarely lost the ball as Chelsea enjoyed total control.

His efforts were rewarded soon after the Blues had carved out several openings. Hazard managed to break out of the corner and threaded a ball inside to De Bruyne, who excellently slid a pass through to Oscar, and he made no mistake, coolly slotting under McGregor.

It was no more than the Blues deserved, especially after Lampard's penalty miss, and were looking rampant with their attacking midfield trio looking in the mood for victory. The England international's wonderful free-kick then made it 2-0 midway through the first half, and it was essentially game over from there.

After the opener, Mourinho continued to encourage the attacking football, and his side were clearly loving the freedom, with De Bruyne, Hazard and Oscar all floating around, exchanging neat, intricate one-twos as Hull struggled to deal with the high tempo.

As the second half came, Mourinho opted to deploy his renowned tactical lockdown in order to secure victory, and limited the amount of attacking play as a result.

But it didn't affect the performance of Oscar, and perhaps signalled his intention to become more involved in the defensive side of things as well as attacking. Of course, with his slight frame he is far from a midfield general like Marco van Ginkel, but put in a shift nonetheless.

His role was slightly affected as Hull gained more possession, but remained consistent in the midfield and his tendency to track back would have pleased his manager.

Eventually, as the game neared to completion, Mourinho decided to replace him with summer signing van Ginkel. It wasn't a lack of faith from his coach, but rather more an attempt to protect him from exhaustion after his trip to Switzerland.

An excellent showing from the Brazilian earned him the Man of the Match award, although in fairness, De Bruyne was a close second. And perhaps it provides Oscar with the motivation to become one of the leading figures as the Blues hunt for their first title in four years.