Ruben Loftus-Cheek Is Back to His Best for Chelsea

ruben loftus-cheek chelsea

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was always tipped to be a star. For Chelsea, before they decided to focus on bringing the young players directly into their setup, Loftus-Cheek was the only one who had managed to breakthrough.

Yesterday, however, returning from the wilderness, we saw the player that Loftus-Cheek truly is.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: Chelsea Forward is Back to His Best

Chelsea Star Excells Against The Saints

When Loftus-Cheek went to Fulham last year, for many fans it was a signal of the end of a player’s career.

Loftus-Cheek was tragically injured in a friendly in the USA just before the Europa League Final, a game in which he would have started over Mateo Kovacic. It was a game that would cement the necessity to sign Kovacic, being the best player on the pitch on the night.

Loftus-Cheek made no impression under Frank Lampard and little impression at Fulham under Scott Parker. Nevertheless, he remained fit, and Tuchel decided to give him one last chance this season in the squad.

Chelsea had lost their last two games against Manchester City and Juventus respectively, and Tuchel decided to make a change.

He gave chances to many players who have been on the fringes this season Starts went to Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Trevor Chalobah, Timo Werner and Loftus-Cheek. There was even a substitute appearance for Ross Barkley.

It was Loftus-Cheek however that stood out from the crowd and showed why Tuchel put faith in him, and perhaps helped him cement a more regular spot in the starting XI.

A New Position

Loftus-Cheek is a versatile player, and so many wondered if he would play where Havertz usually plays in the front 3. Tuchel confirmed before the game however that he would be part of the pivot alongside Kovacic.

Chelsea’s system usually means that one midfielder sits deep with the other carrying the ball up the pitch. Yesterday however, both Loftus-Cheek and Kovacic sat deep in front of their own defenders and drove up the pitch with the ball at their feet.

Loftus-Cheek won nine duels, showcasing his improvement defensively, as well as having the most dribbles in the team (4/5 successful) and creating three chances across the match. He didn’t just control the game, he was the standout performer.

The Standout Performer

Loftus-Cheek was comparable to Yaya Toure in how he ghosted through the opposition and created chances for the wing-backs to put balls in the box. This ability to drive with the ball is something that Loftus-Cheek has teased throughout the years. Most notably this was seen in a wonderful solo goal against Liverpool in his youth team days at Chelsea.

His moment of the game came however when utilising his aerial ability to flick a corner to the onrushing Chalobah to head home. This is another dimension that is lacking in the Chelsea midfield that Ruben can offer.

Jorginho and Kovacic tend to sit back for corners as they do not have an imposing figure, but Loftus-Cheek is commanding in the box and willing to attack the ball. No Saints defender was near him as he rose above the opposition.

His height will also help defensively and means that Chelsea have another big man when defending corners.

Fighting to Start Every Week

Loftus-Cheek has always had the potential to be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. With competition fierce in Chelsea’s squad this year, there is a chance this was just a last look at such a great talent.

Right now, injuries to Kante are frequent and Chelsea are not looking right in their transitional phase from defence to attack. Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be the injection of power and technical skill that Chelsea need in order to improve and continue to fight on all fronts this season. Even as a cup player, Loftus-Cheek could turn his career around and play for the club that nurtured him.

Even if he doesn’t make it at Chelsea, this performance will have put clubs all over Europe back on alert that Loftus-Cheek’s career is far from over.

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