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Friday, April 22, 2022

Thomas Tuchel given £41m quick-fix reminder as Chelsea faces decision amid midfield dilemma

  Jorginho is far from the most popular figure among Chelsea fans, but following the Blues' submission to Arsenal, the 30-year-old re...


Jorginho is far from the most popular figure among Chelsea fans, but following the Blues' submission to Arsenal, the 30-year-old remains Thomas Tuchel's short-term midfield solution. The west Londoners paid the price for his absence as the Gunners waltzed away from Stamford Bridge 4-2 victors.

Mikel Arteta's side invited a great deal of pressure and encouraged Chelsea to play a high-line. The Blues enjoyed the majority of possession while Arsenal had their backs to the wall, though so much so that Tuchel's side began to lose its shape.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N'Golo Kante starred in the German's pivot, but neither anchored Chelsea's midfield, and instead, they took up positions archetypal of where you might expect to find the inside-forwards.

 As a result, Andreas Christensen, the centre of the back-three, conducted possession, meaning that the midfield duo received possession with their back to goal more so than face-fronting — had Jorginho been present in the pivot, then the dynamic would likely have been different.

With the Italian in the starting eleven, Chelsea would have been armed with a metronome who could've dictated the team's play and kept possession ticking. As pictured below, the Blues' passing network from the latest defeat to Arsenal depicts a sizeable gap in the heart of midfield — and, had the £41m-rated, as per Transfermarkt, midfielder been able to plug said gap, then it could've been a different story.

While Jorginho has proved his ability to control games at the highest level, hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the past, the Italian has also proven he is susceptible to being whisked off his feet when the tide turns in midfield — like so against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semi-final.

But, when Chelsea next faces a side this season who will look to surrender a great percentage of possession as Arsenal did, then Tuchel should entrust Jorginho with the reins. The west Londoners have lost just once in the last 16 Premier League games when the former Napoli midfielder started, winning ten and drawing five.

Jorginho, who sees his contract with Chelsea expire at the end of next season and has a role in orchestrating Tuchel's midfield until the summer. Although he's brought great success to Stamford Bridge since arriving in 2018, he doesn't appear to be the long-term solution to the Blues' midfield conundrum.

It's also worth bearing in mind that, according to widespread reports, Chelsea are interested in Declan Rice and Aurelien Tchouameni. With Conor Gallagher returning at the end of the season, an escape route for Jorginho seemingly emerges. Though in the meantime, Tuchel used the Italian midfielder as a quick fix to solving the Blues passing network.

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