Chelsea were handed their first defeat of the season against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium last weekend. The Blues were humbled at the hands of Spurs, who ran riot and romped to a 3-1 win at home. Sarri’s side have otherwise made a fast start to their season, losing just one game so far.
But a major talking point that turned up after the loss to the Lilywhites was how Mauricio Pochettino pulled off a masterclass tactical move in nullifying Jorginho’s effect in the middle of the park. Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli worked as a team and shifted sides as they kept harrying the former Napoli star, who just couldn’t keep up with their pace and rhythm.
Spurs seamlessly won the midfield battle and that ultimately proved to be the key in handing them a much-needed victory at home. For Pochettino, it’s the best start his team have made under his tenure. But for Maurizio Sarri, it will be a reality check.
Jorginho has been a massive presence for the Blues in the middle of the park. He has played every single league game under the manager and has averaged a pass success rate of 91% so far. But there seems to be a slight lack of defending ability from his side. (Stats courtesy – Whoscored)
The Italian has been caught making dangerous lunges and tackles into his opponents. He was also unable to do anything as Heung-Min Son fizzed past before scoring a sublime solo goal.
Sarri has opted to play N’Golo Kante in a more advanced role this season in order to occupy Jorginho in his system. This has seen the Frenchman play a lot higher up the field and focus more on offensive transition.
Kante has fulfilled his defensive duties but it’s in Jorginho’s position that earned the Frenchman his reputation in the league. Playing as a No.6, Kante is a thorn in any side and a defensive machine that relentlessly tracks players down.
Jorginho is unrivalled when it comes to spraying the passes and distributing the ball swiftly but it’s Kante whose presence provides defensive security for the centre-backs.
Had Kante been in place of Jorginho, things would have definitely been a lot more different for the Blues. Would Son take Kante for a ride before scoring the goal he did this past weekend? There’s a minimal chance that would happen.
In fact, theoretically, had Kante been in his No.6 role, Chelsea could have probably avoided two of the goals they conceded.
The Frenchman has supplied 1 goal and 1 assist in the league so far but his new role seems to be taking a toll on Chelsea defensively, leaving them exposed at times. It’s a dilemma that Sarri has to deal with at the moment. There’s no denying that Kante is the best defensive midfielder in the world and should be played in that position.
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