Jorginho has been heavily criticised by pundits for offering little other than lateral passing, and has been booed by his own fans. Chelsea have picked some form since the utterly shambolic showings of an inconsistent February, looking defensively solid in recent games. Jorginho’s recent improvement and goal certainly passes the eye-test, is it a coincidence or a consequence of the team’s improved showings? How has he improved? This statistical analysis provides the answers.
Jorginho’s defensive play has been enhanced in the three games since the FA Cup loss to Manchester United. After running 15 kilometres over 120 minutes against Manchester City, Jorginho won the most tackles (six), interceptions (four) and regained possession the most after covering another 12 kilometres against Tottenham. A game where the opponents failed to muster a shot on target.
The team’s defensive solidity has been down to choosing when to press altogether and when to be compact. This has helped to conserve energy levels during a hectic schedule and it’s certainly favoured Jorginho; who now has more people around him to ease out defensive pressure, and in doing so, boost his confidence. The direct reward for this newly-found resilience is clean sheets against City (in 120 minutes) and Tottenham; until Callum Chambers’ equaliser for Fulham.
It is no secret that Chelsea’s play goes through the midfield dynamo who registers so many touches in a game. It is pertinent, however, note that he has made more progressive passes in recent games; six accurate long passes against City, one at home to Tottenham and five from six attempted in the Fulham game.
Those long passes have been wasted by the frontmen and its only a matter of time before it pays off.
Jorginho’s goal against Fulham was his first for Chelsea from open play. Aside from this beautiful goal, he made three key passes as well as the aforementioned five successful long passes. Winning possession deep in his own half to spark a quick transition into an attack that was finished off by himself was brilliant. He just needs to kick on from these solid performances.
Despite criticism of his lack of physicality to operate as a defensive midfielder in the Premier League, Jorginho has been pivotal in the positive results of late. He now defends with grit, passes and attacks with purpose.
Successive derby wins have improved the mood around Stamford Bridge and relieved the pressure on the manager. It is as a consequence of determination and teamwork that there’s a greater output from Chelsea’s deep-lying playmaker. The tackle and finish for his goal bore everything Chelsea fans hope to see of Jorginho, all in one move.
Maurizio Sarri‘s Plan B makes a breakthrough.
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