Replacing a legend is no easy task.  When that legend is Didier Drogba, who left the club on the highest of high notes, that task can be viewed as near impossible.  During yesterday’s clash between Chelsea and Juventus, Oscar declared himself up to the challenge.

After Oscar was awarded the #11 shirt vacated by Drogba, some Chelsea fans questioned whether he was worthy of living up to the expectations associated with it.  Oscar put on a fantastic display during the Olympic Games, with fantastic distribution and a lethal scoring touch.  The question remained whether he would be able to perform at the highest levels of European football.

Oscar’s first appearances as a Chelsea player came as a substitute. After being a capable replacement for Eden Hazard in Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Wigan, he was decidedly more involved in their second match against Reading.  Oscar entered the pitch in the 57th minute for his fellow countryman Ramires.  He was effective, but uninvolved in the final two goals of Chelsea’s 4-2 victory.  The questions Chelsea fans were asking went unanswered in the squad’s disappointing performance against Athletico Madrid in the European Super Cup. 

Those questions were answered last night when Roberto Di Matteo chose Oscar in his starting XI for his Champions League debut.  Oscar’s evening began with a powered shot from outside the area that deflected into the goal, earning his first goal for Chelsea.  Two minutes later Oscar’s genius revealed itself again.

After accepting a pass in the crowded space outside the penalty area, Oscar created space with a deft touch that evaded Andrea Pirlo.  Following that touch, Oscar thumped a curling shot that Gianluigi Buffon could not stop.  The wonder strike entered the top corner of the net sending Stamford Bridge into a roaring ovation.  The two strikes earned Oscar Man of the Match honors as well as the respect of the legendary Buffon who said “I won’t say it’s nice to concede a goal, but it’s nice to be a part of a goal like that, compliments for him.”

The evening did not end as spectacularly for the Brazilian as it had begun.  Chelsea squandered the 2-0 lead that he had earned them thanks to goals from Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella.  Oscar’s substitution was forced following a late stomping challenge from Leonardo Bonucci, which angered manager Roberto Di Matteo.  Following the match, Oscar commented that he would have been happier with a win. 

Oscar’s emergence is the latest in Chelsea’s development which has seen the squad become younger with a decidedly Brazilian influence.  Oscar is now the fourth Brazilian player bought in recent years, and since joining David Luiz, Lucas Piazon, and Ramires he has blended in well.  Oscar has been assisted by Lucas Piazon who has translated questions and responses for Oscar during interviews.  He appears to have good relationships with the lovable geezer David Luiz and fellow newcomer Eden Hazard. 

The Chelsea kit’s first star was earned by Drogba and the Old Guard, it is now up to this generation of talents to earn the next.  If Oscar and Hazard continue performing as they have, they could be able to add a second.