Mikel could be Benitez's first victim

John Obi Mikel could be dropped by Rafa Benitez for Chelsea vs Fulham

Posted: 28 November 2012 Time: 09:23 am

John Obi Mikel looks set to be dropped from the Chelsea squad as new manager Rafa Benitez attempts to inspire Fernando Torres back to his best.

Chelsea are up against Fulham in the London Derby at Stamford Bridge tonight.

Benitez is under pressure to produce results, and is said to regard Mikel as too defensive and not creative enough to provide opportunites for Torres.

Mikel was missing from preperations for the match, and could be replaced by Oriel Romeu, who came on for him against Manchester City on Sunday.

The new Chelsea coach spoke out on Torres as well, insisting that the 28-year-old can return to form.

"He's not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level at this time [at Liverpool]," Benitez said of his fellow Spaniard.

"But I think he can come back. How close? I don't know. It depends on the rest of the team. I'm sure he can improve, but the team has to help him."

Torres has scored just 19 goals in 88 games for the European champions, but Benitez says he can see what the striker needs.

"The first thing is to give him some confidence, instructions as to how he can do things in a different way, improve him a little bit physically," the manager said.

"You need to be stronger in defence, regain the ball easier and then you can create your own chances. That will benefit Torres.

"Players with mobility, quality ... we can improve all these things."

When asked if he has been under pressure to pick record signing Torres by club owner Roman Abramovich, Benitez said: "It's easy at the moment because [Daniel] Sturridge is still injured."

Sturridge is Chelsea's only other recognised centre-forward, and it seems likely the club will make some signings in the January transfer window.

Previous comments on this story...

Bizzabo1
posted: 09:27 am
ja Essien was better
La_BUCANERO
posted: 09:31 am
This mikel kid is way over rated! He is jus 2 perthetic goin 4ward!
Anti-Zebra
posted: 09:43 am
This is not about Mikel being too defensive. That's rubbish. With Hazard, Oscar and Mata in the starting line up, you do need a defensive player who will bring stability to the midfield. Oriel Romeu himself is more of a defensive midfielder. The only reason why he opts for Oriel Romeu over Mikel is because the former is a Spaniard. We all know that Rafael Benitez generally prefers Spanish players. Just look at his career at Liverpool. He had Raul Garcia, Xavi Alonso, Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres, Arbeloa, and even a useless player like Riera. Our African players are rather unfortunate because even though they're better, because of favoritism, they are benched.I don't remember at any point in time seeing an African player under Benitez at Liverpool by the way. Mikel is an underrated football genius. His career will suffer because of this Spanish guy who turned a treble winning team in Inter Milan into a non-Championship contender.

I'm a Buccaneer.
Donald Duck
posted: 09:43 am
Benitez, i must make it clear that i dont like u for all the crap u used to say about chelsea when u were at liverpool. But on Mikel i agree 100%. He is a complete cow. He must be sold as soon as possible.

We need Falcao and/or Cavani come january...

Blues!!!
INCOGNITO
posted: 09:59 am
The problem is with Torres...he has Mata, Hazard and Oscar feeding him i realy do not believe Benitez when saying he is droping Mikel for more offensive play. Being black is a dissadvantage in europe
Assasin
posted: 10:01 am
By the way how old is he? Is he really 25?
Anonymous
posted: 10:36 am
We are not talking of age now. Mikel is one of the best passer of the ball and can easily break up attacks. You cannot see many players like that.He may not be the Falcao or Messi but he contribution to any team can be enormous. I am thinking that Benitez wants to integrate Romeu into the team before Mikel leaves for AFCON in January.
tsiripo
posted: 10:41 am
how can they loan essien to madrid an expect to win with mikel. mikel is stupit. how can he say the refree called him a monkey . there is a differene between "shut up Mikel" and "shut up monkey"
Guilty
posted: 11:25 am
ah thats racism maan
UncleNhlexc
posted: 11:40 am
As much I dont rate Mikel very highly, I must say though that Romeu will not change anything, infact he's not even better than this Mikel guy. The problem is Torres, the guys has Mata, Hazard, and Oscar all feeding him. The best 3 attacking trio in the EPL but he still fail to shine. Anyway I dont expect an average coach like Benitez to do better than Di Mateo, thats the guy who crashed a trebble winning Inter team and reduced them into an average within 2 months.
bajeo
posted: 11:44 am
well said Anti-zebra, no subtraction n no addition on ur say
bongs.malapile@yahoo.com
posted: 12:16 pm
@anonymous Mikel is the best 1meter 2meter passer of the ball. Let him try and pass a through ball to Drogba you'll be surprised. Six years playing for Chelsea and zero goals. Two defenders by the names of Luiz and Cahill have more goals the Mikel in their two years at Chelsea. A player always running sideways and backwards and passing the person next to him instead of looking for openings and channels. What a bore!!!
Anonymous
posted: 12:23 pm
▌▌Yiηkα ★ ...Naija for l!fe ☜

Well. If Rafa Banitez thinks Oriel is better than Mikel. Then, he must be off his f u c k i n' mind!
...I still cant believe ibramovic can employ such a RACIST manager in such a MINORITY club.
(Short Time or No Short Time)
Tokslex
posted: 12:28 pm
Anti-zebra you're a real observant and follower football, that's real Benitez story you've said here.
Tokslex
posted: 12:30 pm
Assasin you've not said your father's age
Tokslex
posted: 12:30 pm
Assasin you've not said your father's age
mrs Majoro (1st lady of Amakhosi)
posted: 12:31 pm
Benitez will not win a single Cup with Chelsea. its true what Anti Zebra says, he is racist and his track record says a mouthful. He thinks spanish players are superior to all the players. I feel sorry for Mikel, he must start packing his bags.
mrs Majoro (1st lady of Amakhosi)
posted: 12:31 pm
Benitez will not win a single Cup with Chelsea. its true what Anti Zebra says, he is racist and his track record says a mouthful. He thinks spanish players are superior to all the players. I feel sorry for Mikel, he must start packing his bags.
PSG55
posted: 12:32 pm
How predictable that people are playing the race card. People in South Africa never cease to amaze me - everything comes down to race, even with no justification, and it's absolutely pathetic. Apartheid finished in the early 90's - deal with it!

But, as a regular at Stamford Bridge, I'm in favour of dropping Mikel. The only thing is I wouldn't replace him with Romeu. Neither is good enough to play the holding role. Mikel is not disciplined enough and loses concentration too often. Romeu simply isn't good enough at that level. I'd prefer to see Ramires play that role until January and then the club bring in a quality holding midfielder. We never truly replaced Claude Makelele in that role.
Anonymous
posted: 12:39 pm
▌▌Yiηkα ★ ...Naija for l!fe ☜

@PSG57
....you never really replace who? What? LISTEN TO YOURSELF TALK.

Ramires is good in his own right. But, conpared to Mikel. Dont be deluded!

Just like Racist Rafa! ...How can you be comparing a DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER with an ATTACKING MIDFIELDER ???
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