Oriol Romeu: Southampton
Oriol Romeu has been a rock for Southampton since joining from Chelsea in 2015. He only made 22 appearances for the blues as he was loaned out to various clubs during his 2011-2015 stint at Chelsea. I remember watching the former Barcelona man play for Chelsea and he was excellent at breaking up the play. While he flirted with the first team for a while, he found it hard to settle into the first team due to the various managers that came and went at Chelsea during that turbulent time.
The statistics from WhoScored shows that he’s a vital cog in Southampton’s defensive machine.
Here are his defensive averages per game:
Dribbled past: 1.9
Aerials won: 1.7
These statistics show that he’s a tackling machine in the midfield and also effectively breaks up the opposition’s play with interceptions. While his blocks and clearances are low, this is normal for most defensive midfielders who are there to turn over possession rather than defending in their own box where Central defenders will be.
He is also the only player to win possession in the middle third more than 100 times in the premier league this season (107) as of 11 January 2017.
Southampton lost their way a bit recently due to letting defender Jose Fonte go and the recent injury of the exceptional Virgil Van Dijk. This explains their drop in form but Romeu is still an important figure for the Saints.