Brazil's media narrative dictates Neymar will receive the plaudits for Brazil's 3-1 win over Croatia but it was Oscar who was their stand out performer. The Chelsea midfielder's ability to contribute both in possession and in defense is highly impressive and his range of abilities were on display today- he tirelessly pressed Croatia's midfielders, was a threat going forward and finished the contest off with a clever toe-poked finish.
Oscar played on the right of an attacking midfield 3, a slightly unusual role for him with Brazil where he typically plays as a #10. Today it was Neymar who played through the middle with Hulk on the left. The system was likely designed to get the most out of Neymar. Croatia play without a typical defensive, ball winning holding midfielder so Brazil manager Luis Felipe Scolari was likely trying to exploit what he thought would be a defensively soft area of the pitch for Croatia.
It was interesting to see Oscar put in such an impressive shift from a wide starting position on the same day Chelsea signed Cesc Fabregas, a player he may well compete with for the starting #10 role in the Premier League this season. If Fabregas is given that role over the course of the season, Oscar's versatility means he could still find himself in the first 11 on the wing. Jose Mourinho has praised the Brazilian's selflessness and commitment to defending. His first half tackle on Luca Modric, in which he sprinted 20 yards to catch the Real Madrid midfielder as it looked like Croatia might have something on on the break, is a perfect example of why he's difficult to leave out of any lineup.
He has plenty of experience playing a wide role at club level. In his first season at Chelsea he played mostly on the right as Juan Mata had the #10 role locked up. Even playing the #10 role under Mourinho last season he would often rotate positions with the wide players and drift into the channels to create overloads so he's comfortable operating in the channel.
In all likelihood Mourinho will use both Fabregas and Oscar as #10s depending on the opposition. He sees Oscar's ability to press the opposition's deepest lying midfielder as one of his strongest attributes and will want him playing through the middle when Chelsea set out to apply heavy midfield pressure, as they did in the 6-0 win over Arsenal.
Against opposition that looks to sit in deep and force Chelsea to play proactively, Mourinho could opt for Fabregas whose creativity and ability to play a final penetrating ball can unlock defenses. The side struggled to break down weaker opposition last season. Fabregas's ability on the ball should give them more invention in the final third.
Crucially, the signing adds depth and means both players should receive valuable rest over the course of the season. Oscar experienced a mid season dip in form last season- the result of having played two straight years of football because of summer tournaments with Brazil in the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Confederations Cup.
Fabregas's signing will make Chelsea a deeper, more creative and more tactically flexible side but it will in no way mitigate Oscar's influence on the side. The Brazilian's performance today showed he's simply too good at too many facets of the game to become a bit part player in West London.