After hounding Napoli for several months, Jorginho landed in the palms of Chelsea. After having the intent of replacing the ageing Fernandinho, Manchester City ended up sticking with Brazilian veteran. At that time, Jorginho’s move was lauded with praise. Yet, as the season has moved on, the once regista has looked increasingly tired and one-dimensional.
During Chelsea’s heavy defeat to Manchester City, both Fernandinho and Jorginho started in their preferred position. One controlled the game while the other was left chasing shadows. Today we provide a tactical analysis into both of these players and ultimately decide whether which club got the best player.
Both Jorginho and Fernandinho play centre defensive midfield for their respective clubs in a 4-3-3 formation. While playing in the same formation and the position, both of the players vary in their defensive contributions.
Part of this stems from the individuals themselves. Out of both, it is evident that Fernandinho is more athletic, despite the waning age. Standing at 179 cm, Fernandinho has developed a bullish frame, one that is uncommon among Brazilians. On the other hand, Jorginho is less athletic. While being 1 cm taller than Jorginho, the small frame, moulded from his time at Italy, is nonconducive to the physical and bullish Premier League.
Taking from this, we often find Joriginho blocking angles and passing lanes of a player rather than being physical.
As we can see in this graphic, comparing tackles, Fernandinho is the more involved, with Jorginho mustering up only three. These statistics underly that Fernandinho adds steel and frame to Manchester City’s possessional game. More importantly, he aids his defence often in zone 14. An additional thing to note here is the position of the tackles. About 4 of his tackles are higher up on the pitch and this is in line with Guardiola’s philosophy of winning back the ball. The tackles help gain back possession, allowing Manchester City to quickly transition defence to attack.
Jorginho’s tackles are far and few and even then, most of them are in their own half. While it does help Chelsea win back the ball, they’re immediately put under pressure. Additionally, Jorginho’s tackles are nowhere near the active zones such as zones 16-18. This further reinstates the point that Jorginho is not as helpful in the defence of Chelsea’s game
This fact comes into light when we compare their defensive stats.
As we can see, Fernandinho averages a higher number of tackles, clearances, and fouls, characteristics of a true defensive midfielder. As such, Fernandinho adds defensive qualities to a team whose major intent is to attack.
Jorginho, on the other hand, fails to provide that. Being the defensive midfielder, he is constantly outrun, outpassed, and outmuscled. This means that for teams, it becomes much easier to go from central zones to zones 14 and 17, the most dangerous zones for any team
Some excuse Jorginho’s defensive stats, suggesting that he is not a traditional defensive midfielder. Calling him a regista, people glaze over his passing statistics.
It is certainly clear that in terms of key passes, both of them are the same. While Jorginho does make more passes and has a higher passing percentage, he is beaten in terms of long balls and through balls, by Fernandinho.
In terms of attacks, both are performing the same, quality wise. The only difference seen here is the number of passes that Jorginho plays to accomplish the same goals as Fernandinho. There are certain reasons as to why the long balls vary.
On the first hand, Manchester City have evolved from a team and employ both short and long passes in their arsenal. Unlike Chelsea, City are very direct in attack and additionally, the wingers from City are capable of diagonal and curved runs.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are stagnant and the runs from the attackers are reactive rather than proactive. Thus, Jorginho’s long balls are fewer in number.
We can see where these short/long balls end up if we examine forward passes
Certainly, we can see that Jorginho is more attacking minded but an important aspect to note is the length of the passes. Most of Fernandinho’s passes are long, direct, and to important areas such as halfspaces and wings. Jorginho’s passes are short, and most of them do not directly attack the goal. Additionally, Fernandinho’s passes are varied, hitting/attacking the wing zones. This is in line with City’s intelligent use of runners, as their curved runs need an excellent passer.
On the other hand, for Chelsea, the runners are stagnant and the curved runs that are made are very late. Additionally, the lack of overlapping runs forces Jorginho to pass inwards and not deviate towards the wing zones. Since most of the defence is clustered centrally, his passes cannot be as penetrative as Fernadinho’s can.
Additionally, Fernandinho is more engaged in the attack than Jorginho:
Fernandinho’s heat map in the City – Chelsea game:
Jorginho’s heat map in the City – Chelsea game:
The positions taken up by Fernandinho directly face the goal, specifically Zone 15 -16 while on the other hand, Jorginho’s position is near the sides of the goal, as more often than not, he is the underlying support to the Chelsea attacks. While it does suit his position and Sarriball, in terms of attacking sense, it is not the best way to attack, regardless of what one may play as.
These heat maps are also informative in the sense that Jorginho plays very high. His presence near the defence is not as much, and even then, his positions are rarely deep. Thus, Jorginho leaves huge gaps between himself and the defence, which makes it easier for the opponent to create 2v1, working against Chelsea.
This passing has to converge onto final movements and decisive actions. The problem, with Chelsea, is the positions of Chelsea players are too supportive. Kante and Jorginho, as seen in his heatmap, often take supporting positions. In the final third, you need the midfield and the attack to pass and move with precision. Unfortunately, Jorginho’s incision has been lost for this second half of the season
So who got the better deal?
There are still many variables in the balance here. For example, the quality of those who are recipient makes a big difference. While Fernandinho’s passes are met with perfect technique and execution, Jorginho’s passes are met with hesitancy and slow thinking. It may be this which has led to the fact that Jorginho’s passes are not directly linked to many goals.
Additionally, fatigue does make an appearance, as Jorginho has been exclusively used for every match, for Chelsea. Jorginho is still a talented footballer, whose precision and incision is (and was) sought after every professional club. If anything, this analysis goes to showcase the true class and expertise of the Brazilian veteran. Forgotten by many, he has quietly made a comeback, one that has put the Neapolitan to dismay.