The Shaping of the Chelsea Midfield by Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic
Running the Show
The duo have now started the Blues’ last four games in all competitions, including three wins in a row in the league. Strangely, though, it is not their flashy dribbling or incredible defence-splitting passing that is dazzling to watch. As Match of the Day pundit Jermaine Jenas said on the show last week (after their 4-2 win away at Burnley): “They completely ran the show, they dictated the pace of the game, when they were going to attack, when they were going to slow it down. Simple passes that take three players out of the game.”
It really is the simplicity of Jorginho’s game that makes him so fascinating to watch. He sits deep in the regista, or pivot, role at the base of midfield and he becomes the metronome for the team. Constantly waving his arms, orchestrating to teammates where they should go, and sometimes watching Jorginho scan and patrol the pitch is just as fun to watch as his array of passing.
He is an artist and every pass is the stroke of a brush. Painting a picture in his mind before he gets the ball, delivering with inch-perfect precision. It is already clear to see how he is finally reaping the rewards of Frank Lampard’s management. He already has two assists to his name this season, but failed to register a single one last year with over 3,000 passes.
Meanwhile, Kovacic is the energetic, technical heart of the team at the moment. His reluctance to be tackled as he waltzes past opposition presses is a joy to watch. He may go under the radar for goals and assists, but his value in this side cannot be understated. He is crucial.
The Croatian international possesses such exceptional close control that he is nearly impossible to tackle. It is this skill that makes him so valuable in Lampard’s team. His ability to bring the ball forward at his feet means he can break the lines and move past opposition attackers into space and start counter-attacks.
The pair also have now found a way to work together in the Chelsea midfield, something that they could never manage under Maurizio Sarri. Despite being played together almost every week, they couldn’t gel or fit smoothly in the same team. They seemed to be doing the same job as each other, getting in the way, not playing with freedom.
Move forward 12 months and Frank Lampard has the £100 million duo bouncing off each other and bringing the best from themselves and the team. Their movement, intelligence and intricacy is everything Lampard wants from his team – forward thinkers that are free to express, creating angles and controlling the game from the middle of the park.
Lampard will hope that these two can continue their good form as Chelsea approach a pivotal point in their season. If they can keep up these standards then it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Blue’s are challenging on more than one front this season.