In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Sairam (Writer – @ftblsairam) to discuss our lacklusture performance leading to an ugly 2-1 loss against Saints. The boys discussed starting Ziyech, the impact of the subs and not using the fifth one, the awful midfield shift from Jorginho, Hudson-Odoi’s loan and future at the club, the potential signing of Gvardiol and the next two very important days in the transfer window.
Thomas Tuchel surprised us all on Wednesday evening in the 2-0 victory against Tottenham in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge. Having been previously reluctant to veer too far from his tried and tested back-three system, Tuchel lined up with a back-four for (almost) the first time in his reign as Chelsea boss. A Kai Havertz opener followed by an unfortunate Ben Davies own goal saw Chelsea cruise to victory, in a game that really could have ended four or five goals to nil. Antonio Conte had no answer to Tuchel’s setup, one which may well be a glimpse of the future for Chelsea fans.
Hakim Ziyech was the key man for Chelsea’s system on Wednesday, filling in at right-wing-back as the team maintained its back-three shape off the ball. He pushed high up the field when Chelsea pressed Tottenham’s block and tucked in as the right-sided number 10 once Chelsea regained possession. This is very similar to how Christian Pulisic was used when Chelsea played Leeds at Elland Road last season, an indicator that the setup had been in Tuchel’s mind long before Wednesday’s game. Mason Mount, meanwhile, dropped in to form a midfield-three out of possession, and pushed forward into the left-sided 10 position when Chelsea had the ball, as illustrated below. Essentially; 3-5-2 off the ball, 4-2-2-2 on it. This meant that our defensive solidity was maintained, whilst, in attack, Tottenham’s midfield two was overwhelmed by the combination of Chelsea’s four midfielders and Havertz, who dropped deep to help link play. A masterstroke from Tuchel.
We should, however, consider the fact that Conte and Spurs will not have been prepared for this, setting up to deal with the back-three formation Chelsea had used in every game so far this season rather than the new-look back-four. With time to mount an adequate game plan, teams might use more central midfielders, or target the right-hand-side of Chelsea’s defence with overloads in order to expose Ziyech’s defensive weaknesses, for instance. For this reason, I think Chelsea fans may have to wait until next season to see this setup used more consistently. As links to West Ham’s Declan Rice and AS Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni persist, it is looking ever more likely that Chelsea will sign an athletic defensive midfielder in the coming summer transfer window. This would allow Tuchel to use a similar system, but without the necessity for either of the number 10s to fill in at wing-back, as the defensive cover provided by a physical midfield signing would prevent Chelsea from being exposed on the counter.
Given that the 4-2-2-2 seems a realistic possibility for Chelsea next season, it’s worth considering some potential winners and losers that would come out of this formation change.
Romelu Lukaku – The best spell in Lukaku’s career came at Inter Milan under Antonio Conte, where the Belgian rose from being a ridiculed flop at Manchester United to being widely accepted as one of the world’s best strikers. Paired with Lautaro Martinez, he was extremely influential on the right side of the front two, using his speed and power to dominate the right channel. Much of this season, he has been used as a lone striker, a static reference point, constantly with his back to goal. We didn’t need Romelu to tell us for us to realise this clearly doesn’t suit him, as many began to claim, “we play better without him”. Using him this way is reminiscent of his time at Manchester United, where José Mourinho struggled to maximise his potential. As seen in the first half against Spurs, the 4-2-2-2 allows Lukaku to return to his favoured right channel, where he is more able to impact the game, by both hovering on the last line of defence and finding the runs of his strike partner.
Kai Havertz – Though Havertz also favours this right channel, he is very comfortable playing on the left of the front two, something he proved in Wednesday night’s game. Since Tuchel was appointed, it has become clear that Havertz should be played high up the pitch, and this split striker formation allows Chelsea to make the most of his intelligent movement in the box. The small matter of dealing with Lukaku means that defences leave more space for him to drift into, just as we saw with his early goal against Spurs. Equally, when he’s not the lone striker there is less of a need for him to be a presence on the last line of the defence, meaning he can use his ability to drop deep and link play. This constitutes a new dynamic in Chelsea’s build up, making the most of his understanding with the likes of Mason Mount, amongst others.
Timo Werner – Werner is yet another example of a player who is less comfortable when played as a lone striker. Much like Kai, Timo’s quality movement is most effective when he is joined by a strike-partner, preventing him from being marked out the game. Like Lukaku, his most successful days came playing in a front two overseas, off the left of Yussuf Poulsen at RB Leipzig, scoring 34 goals in all competitions in the 2019-20 season. Having either been played either too wide, deep, or central so far in his Chelsea career, the 4-2-2-2 could be the key to him rediscovering his goal-scoring form.
Christian Pulisic – Despite the recent equaliser against Liverpool, Pulisic’s time under Tuchel so far can only be described as inconsistent, bordering on disappointing. The 3-4-3 used by the Chelsea manager has often seen Pulisic stuck dribbling in between the lines, exposing his lack of creativity, and leaving him too far from goal. Playing in the front two of the 4-2-2-2 would favour his goal-scoring instincts and movement in the box, without leaving him as isolated as he has been when used as a lone striker in recent games.
Mason Mount – Although Mason has had an excellent year, finishing in the top 20 of the 2021 Ballon d’Or and playing a pivotal role in Chelsea’s Champions League success, it’s important to remember he has not been playing in his favoured position. His skillset is perfect for the 8 role and, like Pulisic, playing on either side of the front 3 leaves him with too much responsibility to create between the lines. Playing a 4-2-2-2 wouldn’t have him as an 8, but it does allow him to occupy deeper areas and play a greater role in the build-up, whilst still being able to arrive late in the box and finish off Chelsea attacks. He would not be the primary creator in this system.
Hakim Ziyech – Ziyech is another on Chelsea’s list of forwards who haven’t thrived in Tuchel’s 3-4-3. He is a player who likes to remain wide on the right side of the pitch, finding the runs of those inside the box with in-swinging crosses from his infamous left foot. Reece James’s ability to come infield would facilitate Ziyech remaining wide, their connection something to look out for if Ziyech remains at Stamford Bridge next season. With an extra striker in the box, the chances are Ziyech’s assist count would benefit. The same can be said for Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has displayed a fantastic understanding with both Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku so far in his Chelsea career.
Jorginho – Jorginho is a player who divides opinion. Tuchel’s back-three system has seen the holding midfielder’s strengths maximised and his weaknesses masked, so much so that he managed a top 3 finish in the 2021 Ballon d’Or. The combination of the three centre backs and two holding midfielders means that, in the first phase of the build-up, a passing option is always available, allowing him to circulate possession and orchestrate passing moves out from the back. This structure also protects him on the counter, rarely leaving him isolated in transition. Given his inability to cover ground quickly, a move to a more expansive system could leave Jorginho out of sorts, especially with the potential arrival of a new defensive midfielder.
Antonio Rüdiger – Also benefitting from Tuchel’s arrival, Rüdiger’s aggressive style of defending is very well suited to playing in a back-three. The German’s form has earnt him much praise, now seen as one of Europe’s best defenders. His raw speed means he is comfortable defending out wide, knowing the central areas are covered by the other centre backs. Toni’s drives into the opposition half have become a fixture in Tuchel’s Chelsea team, often igniting both the crowd and the team during tough periods of games. Unfortunately, a move to a back-four would restrict his ability to charge out from the back, there being less defensive cover for him in this shape. It’s still yet to be seen whether he could adapt his game to suit the 4-2-2-2, but it’s certainly a formation that plays less to his strengths.
Cesar Azpilicueta – After last year’s Champions League success, Azpilicueta is now regarded amongst many Chelsea fans as a club legend. His loyalty to the club is unquestionable, but so are the signs of his impending decline. He was given a new lease of life by Tuchel, returning to the same RCB position which saw him widely accepted as one of the league’s best defenders during Chelsea’s 2016-17 title-winning campaign under Conte. On the right of a back-four, Reece James would be the clear first-choice option, leaving Dave with a seat on the bench.
Thiago Silva – Thiago Silva has been nothing short of a world class signing for Chelsea. Joining on a free transfer from PSG, he has defied the odds by performing as a top 3 CB in the league at the ripe old age of 37. Despite proving under Frank Lampard that he is perfectly capable in a back-four, the older he gets the less confident you’d feel leaving him with less protection. As his speed declines, his inability to defend the wide areas would be a worry for Tuchel.
Of course, a formation change would impact the whole squad in various ways, but these are the players who stood out to me as the ones who would either benefit or suffer most from a move to the 4-2-2-2.
Notably, every winner is under the age of 30, and every loser, apart from Rudiger, is over the age of 30. Make of that what you will, but it seems that with every day that passes, the squad becomes more suited to a back-four system. To me, the catalyst needed for Tuchel to consider leaving the back-three behind will be the signing of an athletic defensive midfielder. Regardless, Tuchel’s semi-final line up was just one of many examples of his impressive tactical flexibility, having made many in-game tweaks throughout his tenure, most valuably on route to the Champions League final. This adaptability should leave Chelsea fans with no doubts as to the capabilities of the German, as he continues to show he has what it takes to be at Stamford Bridge for years to come.
Chelsea will pay Inter €115m (£97.5m) for Lukaku and no Chelsea players will be going to Inter.
Lukaku will sign a five year contract and get €12m net + add-ons per year. (Fabrizio Romano)
Lukaku will be the highest earner at Stamford Bridge as he will receive about £195,000 a week after tax. (The Athletic)
Lukaku will undergo a medical in Belgium on Sunday and will travel to London that night or early Monday morning to complete £97.5m move.
The striker didn’t plan to exit Inter this summer but Inter’s financial crisis made it necessary. (David Ornstein)
Atalanta board have a meeting scheduled in London with Chelsea in the next 48 hours to ask for Tammy Abraham as main target. Price tag around €40m.
Arsenal and West Ham interested also.
Atalanta will bid for Tammy if Inter try to buy Duvan Zapata as Lukaku replacement. (Fabrizio Romano)
Tammy is not in a rush and he will not be forced out of the club.
Arsenal appeal to him the most out of three clubs interested as of now (mind may change after talks with Atalanta). (Dan McCarthy)
Declan Rice has accepted that he will be staying at West Ham this season after their £90m valuation blocked a potential move to a Champions League club. (Daily Mail)
After Lukaku, Chelsea will pursue more signings and will look to find a deal for Kounde. The Frenchman has always been the favourite option as centre back but a fee has not been agreed yet. (Fabrizio Romano)
Sevilla are already looking for a new centre back which increases the hope that Kounde will be a Chelsea player before the end of the window. (Fabrizio Romano)
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho
After Lukaku deal is done, new contracts for Kante and Jorginho will be discussed after summer. (Fabrizio Romano)
Dynel Simeu has turned down Chelsea proposal to sign a new contract and he’s now set to join Southampton. (Fabrizio Romano)
As like all of the youth transfers this year, there is a sell-on fee included and potential premier league appearance bonus that if met could equal up to £1.5m. (Nizaar Kinsella)
Simeu opted against signing a new contract with Chelsea after being offered a fast-tracked pathway into the St Mary’s senior set-up. Ralph Hasenhüttl wants Simeu as part of the Saints squad for the upcoming season.
Chelsea are in talks with Dujon Sterling over a new contract. His current deal expires in under a year but he wants to stay and Tuchel is impressed with the right back.
Despite being keen to stay at Chelsea, there are Championship clubs interested in taking Sterling on loan. (Goal)
Still believed to be contracted to Chelsea, Uwakwe was seen appearing for Sheffield Wednesday in a friendly.
Tariq Uwakwe is on trial at Sheffield Wednesday and it is not known whether Wednesday want to purchase him outright or if it could be a loan deal.
West Ham manager David Moyes is interested in reuniting with Ross Barkley, should the club be unable to secure a return to the London Stadium for Jesse Lingard.
West Ham have held conversations with Chelsea about Barkley, while there is also dialogue between the two clubs over striker Tammy Abraham. (90min)
The 18-year-old midfielder has said his goodbyes to people at Chelsea and his move to Leeds is now complete. (Adam Newson)
The fee for Bate is £1.5m + add-ons and a sell on fee percentage.
Emerson has reportedly submitted a transfer request to Chelsea and wants to be sold to a club in Serie A.
Napoli is the Italians preferred destination.
So, with Napoli offering €10m for Palmieri and Chelsea requesting €20m, ‘the gap is far from being bridged’, meaning someone, somewhere, is going to have to make an effort. (Calciomercato)
Chelsea ‘received the proposal’ of intermediaries, offering the Belgium international to return to Stamford Bridge.
Roman Abramovich is more interested in signing a big-name and big-money striker this summer. (SportWitness)
Chelsea have entered contract negotiations with Jorginho. (Fabrizio Romano)
His contract runs out in 2023 but Chelsea are interested in slowly but surely securing a new contract for the Italian.
Chelsea have held talks with Lewandowski’s agent regarding a move to Stamford Bridge this summer. (Daily Mail)
Arsenal are currently not in advanced talks for Tammy Abraham. They are informed on his situation as they like him – but it’s not an ‘advanced deal’ with Chelsea yet.
Chelsea are aware of Arsenal interest but have not received any official bid from Arsenal as of today. (Fabrizio Romano)
A loan deal with an obligation to buy of around £40m has been rumoured and Arsenal are definitely interested to keep up their summer spending.
“Declan Rice would reject a third contract offer from West Ham. He wants to be made aware of any bids made for him. “West Ham would have to have a serious think about any bid that came in over £60m because of the situation”. (Matt Law)
In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Paree (Owner – @CFCParee ) and Dan (Admin – @DanBarkerCoach) discuss Chelsea’s diabolical performance against West Brom. They talked about Jorginho’s performance, Abraham’s exclusion from the squad once again, Tuchel’s hypocrisy, the importance not to overreact, and they also look ahead to our Champions League tie against Porto and answer your questions!
Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –
Following on from an impressive win against Liverpool, it was now time for Merseyside to travel to London as Chelsea faced the blue half of the city with Everton coming to the Bridge. Everton started the evening in 5th place, just a single point behind Chelsea, with tonight’s game presenting Tuchel’s side an opportunity to establish a 4 point lead over their closest challengers. A defeat however, would have seen the club fall out of the top 4 and even fall as far as 6th if West Ham were able to beat Leeds later on in the evening.
The last time these two clubs met saw our visitors run out 1-0 victors through a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty in a game that kickstarted the decline in performance and results that ultimately cost Frank Lampard his job. Less than 3 months on, Tuchel lead his side into the game looking to extent his unbeaten record as Chelsea manager to 11 games and build on their charge for a top 4 position.
Everton themselves were heading into the game in a good run of form, unbeaten in their last 9 away matches and inform Pickford looking to achieve his 4th clean sheet in a row for the first time in his career.
Chelsea lined up in their expected 3-4-2-1 formation with two noticeable inclusions on either side of the pitch as Kurt Zouma returned to the left side of a 3 man defence against his old club and Kai Havertz getting a start in the false 9 position, flanked by Werner on his right and Hudson-Odoi given an opportunity on his favoured left. The frequently seen midfield under Tuchel of Kovacic and Jorginho got the nod in the centre with James and Alonso tasked with providing the width from wing back.
Everton matched up with a 3 at the back system of their own with Doucore and Bernard dropping out from their victory at West Brom with Allan and Sigurdsson, the latter having scored a penalty against Chelsea earlier in the season, taking their place.
Chelsea started the game on the front foot as they’ve done for the majority of games under Tuchel, with tidy possession in the centre of the pitch, moving the Everton midfield from side to side in an attempt to carve an opening against an Everton side full of energy and discipline. Perhaps inspired by the success they experienced at Anfield, there was clear intent to get the ball forward and behind the Everton defence quickly with Kovacic in particular playing a number of progressive passes for the pacey front 3.
Despite the tidy possession in open play, the first chance of the game came from a well worked corner routine which saw Alonso break out of the box and play a one-two with the corner taker James who cut the ball back to Timo Werner who had cleverly disguised a run to the edge of the box. The German’s finish didn’t match the subtly of his run as his first time effort sailed over Pickford’s bar and into the stands.
In the 15th minute, A powerful Reece James run starting deep from within his own half resulted in a blocked shot which won another early Chelsea corner. Following a defensive clearance from the Everton defence, the ball landed on the right foot of Jorginho’s whose first time volley skidded just outside of a rooted Pickford’s left post.
Chelsea’s movement in attack caused consistent problems for the Everton defence with Hudson-Odoi and Werner regularly switching flanks ahead of Havertz whose movement and intelligent use of the ball consistently created space within the Everton half. Chelsea’s attack was also boosted by the speed in which they turned defence into attack, helped in no small part by Christensen’s consistent ability to bypass the Everton midfield with brave passing through the lines. Everton looked to combat this by having their defenders tightly mark the player in possession, forcing them to receive the ball with their back to goal, however the combined pace, touch and intelligent movement from the front 3 meant that the Blues were able to retain possession more often than not.
Everton’s first chance of the game also came from a set piece when a desperate lunge from Jorginho caught Richarlison on the edge of box and gifted Everton’s array of free kick specialists an opportunity for a free strike at the Chelsea goal. Fortunately, Digne’s effort cannoned off the Chelsea wall for an Everton corner. The following corner caused a slight scramble in the Chelsea box before the Blues were able to clear the ball before any damage was done.
Chelsea finally made the breakthrough in the 30th minute as a smart turn from Hudson-Odoi, midway into the opposition half, caught the Everton defence off guard and opened an inviting gap inside the left hand side of the Everton box for Alonso to exploit. The English winger played a perfectly weighted pass into Alonso’s path, whose precise cut back found Kai Havertz. The German’s first time effort took a hefty deflection off Ben Godfrey before wrong footing Pickford and settling into the near post for an own goal.
A second almost quickly followed as Marcos Alonso was played in behind the Everton defence down the left channel. Despite not possessing the pace to break free of the oncoming defender, the Spaniard positioned himself infront of Holgate and unleashed a left footed effort which forced a smart save from Pickford down at his near post.
Neither side opted to make personnel changes at half time but there was a clear instruction from Ancelotti to press higher up the pitch with Allan actively looking to close down Jorginho whenever the Italian was about to receive possession. In reaction to Everton’s increased press, Chelsea looked to exploit the space in behind with more regularity as Havertz continued to drop deep, creating space for the speedy Werner and Hudson-Odoi to exploit.
The first chance of note came from a Chelsea freekick on the right hand side of the Everton box. Tidy interplay between James and Havertz drew a foul from Lucas Digne who picked up a yellow card for his troubles. From the resulting free kick, Alonso attempted to catch Pickford off guard with a left footed drive towards the top right corner which forced a one handed save and won Chelsea yet another corner.
Chelsea thought they had a second in the 53rd minute as tidy play between Havertz and Kovacic saw the Croatian switch play out to Hudson-Odoi with space to utilise on the left. Hudson-Odoi clipped a delicate lob over the Everton defence which Kai Havertz expertly brought down before lashing it past Pickford into the far post. Celebrations were short lived as the linesman flagged for handball, a decision which VAR agreed with despite replays suggesting that contact may have been higher than the point of the arm which Werner was flagged offside for against Liverpool.
The 60th minute saw Ancelotti make the first personnel change of the game with Tom Davies coming on in place of the ineffective Iwobi. This change also saw a shift to Ancelotti’s infamous diamond formation which many Chelsea fans will recognise from the Italian’s time in charge of the blues. The change almost immediately paid off as Everton instantly created their first chance from open play in an attempt to grab an equaliser. The high Evertonian press catching the Chelsea midfield off guard as a turn over in possession within the Chelsea half saw Sigurdsson play Richarlison in behind Zouma on the right of the Chelsea defence. Fortunately for the Blues, the Brazillians first touch and balance let him down as his effort soared comfortably wide of Mendy’s post.
The Everton ressurgence was short lived as Chelsea doubled their lead minutes later. Kovacic, not for the first time in the evening, played a ball over the top of the Everton defence which Kai Havertz latched on to. The German perfectly timed his touch around the onrushing Pickford, drawing the contact and leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Pickford’s reaction told the whole story and following a very quick VAR check, Jorginho stepped up to the spot with a hop, skip and a cool right footed finish to Pickford’s right to make it 2-0.
Chelsea’s first switch followed with the ever present Mason Mount coming on in place of Hudson Odoi. The player of the year candidate took up a deeper, more central role than the departing Hudson-Odoi with Werner and Havertz moving towards a more conventional front 2. Mount instantly looked to get involved with a couple of trademark turns, seamlessly turning defence into attack, however his final pass let him down on both occasions and the attacks broke down.
With the game becoming stretch, Tuchel introduced Kante at the 80th minute in place of the excellent Kovacic. Immediately Chelsea looked to utilise the space behind a desperate Everton defence as Azpilicueta played a smart first time pass over the top. Werner did brilliantly to muscle Godfrey off the ball and position himself infront of Pickford, just outside the 6 yard box, however his left footed effort lacked the power or accuracy to beat the English keeper.
Werner then had an excellent opportunity to make instant amends as a quick Chelsea counter attack saw Werner played in behind by his compatriot Havertz. The German striker, on the left hand side of the box this time, looked to finish in the far post but Pickford saved with his trailing leg before getting to his feet quickly to save Kante’s folow up effort from the edge of the box.
Chelsea comfortably saw out the final minutes of the game, keeping possession within the Everton’s half and bypassing the Merseyside club’s press with ease with the final chance of the game falling to Mason Mount who unleashed a dangerous shot from 25 yards out which forced yet another save from the excellent Pickford.
This was yet another statement result and performance from Tuchel’s side as they opened up a 4 point gap over Everton with a favourable run of fixtures ahead of them. It would be easy to look at today’s result and assume Everton didn’t show up but the truth is that Chelsea were excellent from start to finish and gave their inform opposition nothing to work with. This was another example of Chelsea navigating a potentially very difficult fixture with a composed, assured performance that made it look far easier than it actually was.
Like previous performances under Tuchel, the defence were excellent and sniffed out danger instantly before comfortably playing out from the back with composed, considered possession. However, unlike some of the criticisms from previous performances, Chelsea’s attack looked far more dangerous than it had in recent weeks, looking to get in behind at every opportunity and utilising the pace and creativity of a very versatile front 3.
Tuchel has expertly navigated a run of exceptionally tricky games, putting Chelsea in a prime position to solidify their position in the top 4, especially with a run of seemingly favourable league fixtures ahead.
Mendy (7) – Despite not having a lot to do, he dealt with the crosses superbly and never looked at risk of conceding. His commanding presence clearly installs confidence throughout the defence, especially when defending set pieces.
James (7) – Defensively solid whilst offering a constant threat going forward. A couple of driving runs that resulted in either a powerful shot or his trade mark whipped crosses gave Digne an evening he’ll want to forget.
Azpi (7) – Dependable as ever, comfortably dealt with Richarlison on the right and should have had an assist when his wonderful ball in the second half played Werner through
AC (9) – Continued his incredible run of recent form. Composed as ever in possession and showed a lot of bravery in his passing through the lines. Crucial interception in the 81st minute to stop a dangerous looking Everton counter.
Zouma (7) – His aerial ability was a huge asset in defence against a very physical Everton side, could have had a goal himself following a free header from a corner.
Alonso (7) – Wasn’t involved for large portions of the game with the majority of the play heading down the right but he still showed the threat he possesses with a couple of dangerous freekicks and one-on-one that forced a great save from Pickford.
Kovacic (8) [Sub OFF: 80 min] – Had an excellent game in the heart of midfield, showing the desire to play in behind the Everton defence at every opportunity. Progressed the ball expertly through the middle.
Jorginho (7) – Continued his run of good form with composed possession in the centre. Clearly instructed to not press higher by Tuchel which restricts the potential flaws of the Italian. Cool penalty finish to top off a tidy performance.
Hudson Odoi (7) [Sub OFF: 66 min] – Lively throughout the game and always looking to drive at the Everton defence. Did expertly for the first goal and was unlucky to not have a second for the disallowed Havertz strike.
Havertz (9) MOTM – At the heart of everything good about this Chelsea performance, hopefully the catalyst of his Chelsea career as his talents were on clear show. Unlucky to not have a goal himself but played a key role in both goals. Everton couldn’t handle his intelligent movement, first touch and deceptive pace.
Werner (7) [Sub OFF: 90 min] – A game that summed up Werner’s career in a Chelsea shirt so far, worked tirelessly and consistently made dangerous runs but the finishing wasn’t at the required standard. Missed a couple of one-on-ones which a player of his quality should be putting away.
Mount (6) [Sub ON: 66 min] – Busy as ever but his final pass let him down at the key moments.
Kante (7) [Sub ON: 80 min] – Couple of impressive recoveries high up the field which resulted in dangerous counter attacks. Everton scored an Ivanovic-esque header in the 92nd minute to confirm that there is really nothing he can’t do.
Pulisic (N/A) [Sub ON: 90 min] – Not enough time on the pitch to make an impact however impressively fell over his feet more times than he touched the ball.
I am not really sure how we’re still having this conversation. People get carried away like nothing and it seems as if some Chelsea fans had done when Jorginho and Kovacic were putting up sound performances again under Thomas Tuchel in the three at the back formation. Admittedly, the partnership worked well and they were moving the ball a lot quicker than we’ve seen them do before, but it really shouldn’t be a surprise that they were able to do so against the weaker teams.
Yes, Spurs are a good team, but they didn’t press us in midfield, and not many other teams did. But, our first opposition who expected to give us problems in midfield was Southampton, and they certainly did. Kovacic gave the ball away a few times in bad positions, and Jorginho’s 10 minute substitute cameo was shocking. Kante lacked the final pass, but at least looked extremely comfortable defensively, making multiple tackles and interceptions.
After Southampton, we had Atletico Madrid last night, again another obvious challenge for Jovacic. I tweeted at 18:40 yesterday that not starting the French midfielder was pretty criminal, as I simply do not think this Jorginho-Kovacic partnership is good enough for the big games. They do not have any positional awareness, and even though we had a lot of possession yesterday we failed to create much through the centre. I understand that Kante’s not amazing in progressing the ball but even Jorginho struggled to make some simple passes yesterday, and N’Golo is better defensively, so he really should’ve started, right?
Anyway, here’s a tactical analysis of some of the moments in our Champions League game which got me screaming at the TV and *specifically at Jorginho*, but Kovacic can take the responsibility with him because why not. At the end of this article I’ll try and give my solution to what I’d do in midfield, but if I’m being honest, I never have and never will be convinced by Jovacic. (Sarri Twitter please don’t come for me). All images via hdmatches.net.
Half a minute into the game, and it started off terribly. Kovacic picked up the ball on the left hand side which is fine, and had Alonso and Mount in front of him. For some reason, Jorginho runs all the way over to Kovacic. Mateo attempts to pass it to the Italian midfielder, who gets muscled off the ball like nothing, and, as you can see in the image, leaves so much space in behind him. Mason Mount had to track back and pick up a yellow card to stop their counter which is normally ruthless, and now he misses the second leg. This pretty much summed up the next 5 minutes, where we on another day may have found ourselves 2-0 down.
We lose the ball high up the pitch, which is fine. If there’s one place you want to lose the ball it’s high up, so you still have your midfielders back to track back. Oh nevermind, not with Jovacic. For some reason, Jorginho follows his man who drops deep into Atletico’s half, and obviously he was never going to win the ball when chasing someone (mainly because it’s Jorginho but I won’t let my agenda be clear too much). He gets easily turned, and the opposition had the chance to break with a lot of space. In this case, Kovacic did well and forced them to the right hand side which slowed them down, but it’s still another example of the gap between the midfielders being way too big.
8 minutes in, and I’m already on three screenshots, yikes. That distance between Kovacic and Jorginho isn’t actually that bad, but when they have 4 quite narrow as they do here, that’s a problem. Ideally, Jorginho takes a touch and passes it to Kovacic, but instead he misplaces a pass to Mount which is easily intercepted and once again they break on the counter, this time almost creating a huge chance at the back post. Kovacic is too high up the pitch to come back in time and fortunately our defence bailed us out this time.
In this image, Jorginho gets caught in two minds once again. Saul pushed forward a bit from his deeper position, and Jorginho had to choose between pressing him or sitting back and waiting for him to come. Jorginho decides to try and tackle their midfielder, but chooses 2 seconds too late and he plays a simple 1-2 with Joao Felix to go past the Italian very easily. Space is easily found behind Jovacic and they create another chance, which this time was cleared by Rudiger after some lovely football.
My stream has paused and I think I should probably leave it there as I’ve posted 4 images in 12 minutes, so I’m sure there’s a lot more in the other 80 minutes of the game which I’ll leave you to find. Next time they play together, just have a look at them, and you’ll see the amount of space they leave behind them. Here’s a clip of Jorginho getting skimmed which backs my point, and to be honest, it’s quite funny.
I’d also like to make this clear: this is not Jorginho or Kovacic slander. This is simply my opinion and I actually quite like both – I think Jorginho seems like a great presence in the dressing room and that Kovacic is a brilliant squad player to have. But are they able to take us to the next level? And while playing together? I really don’t think so.
So what would I do? It’s difficult, for sure. First of all I’d definitely start Kante – that’s a must for me. He runs around so much and is brilliant defensively – and people act as if he’s much worse than the others on the ball. He really isn’t. Then, it’s not easy, but I do want to see Mount next to him. Our good friend Konark got quite a lot of hate for suggesting this, but I really do think this could be our future. Mount mastered the #8 role under Frank Lampard, and next to Kante could show some real balance. He’s played a very similar role next to Declan Rice for England, and I have no doubts he could do the same in Blue. He’s also taking up one of the front three positions at the moment, meaning Pulisic, Havertz, and Ziyech all find themselves on the bench, but by dropping back he could open up some space for one more of our attacking threats. My next option would be Billy Gilmour by preference, but that’s not happenning, so probably Kovacic, who definitely can put in a brilliant performance when he wants. In other words, no Jorginho please. I repeat – Sarri fans please do not come for me.
Chelsea’s season began on a positive note – a 3-1 win against Brighton away. The 1 goal conceded was dismissed mostly as a blip as snakebitten Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was lazily beaten from range by Brighton’s Belgian forward Leandro Trossard. Understat.com gave Trossard’s strike a 0.02 xG. This means that this attempt at goal is expected to score 1 in every 50 tries. Well, at least if the defense plays like they did we’ll be ok, right? Wrong.
Six days later, we had another Kepa “blip” against reigning Premier League champions Liverpool. On the stroke of halftime, Kepa brazenly rushed out of goal to try and meet Sadio Mane forty yards out. While Andreas Christensen was nearby, and mistakenly allowed Mane to get through, Christensen was not confident in Kepa’s chances of stopping Mane and he was subsequently hauled down for a professional last man foul – and a red card. While Chelsea were down 1-0 after a Mane header, they were still within striking range in the game. That all changed within 4 minutes of Mane’s first goal when Kepa gave him a second by playing the ball right to him inside the box. With the team forced to play down an attacker and Jorginho failing to convert a penalty, Chelsea’s comeback hopes were effectively over at 2-0 as the penalty was the only true chance mustered for the entire second half.
Following this was another disastrous effort against West Brom which saw us fortunate to earn a draw thanks to a furious second half comeback. After just two Edouard Mendy appearances, one of which resulted in a penalty loss to Jose Mourinho’s Spurs, the team found themselves on the opposite side of the comeback fence versus Southampton where a brilliant Werner display was wasted in the last minute of the match due to a cumulative combination of dodgy defending and another meme-worthy Kepa effort at trying to clear a weak back pass.
The Southampton match could’ve been Kepa’s last appearance in a Blues shirt, with Mendy healthy and having already corralled 6 clean sheets in just 7 matches. 2 of the last 3 have been UEFA Champions League 3+ goal batterings of Stade Rennais and FC Krasnodar respectively. The talent has always been there so why the sudden drastic increase in form? Ask any Chelsea fan who’s been able to catch our last few matches, and they’ll promptly tell you the team looks more assertive, creative, mature and confident.
This is a direct result of Mendy’s introduction into the team and the Senegalese’s exceptional form in his starts. The attack and midfield feel more relaxed about crafting attacks and less stressed about feeling pressured to score before they get scored on. Another byproduct of this is the defense being able to be more assertive and confident without having to worry about being punished if they put a foot wrong. Usually the group would be worried about conceding a goal as soon as opposition worked their way into a shot opportunity. Furthermore, the attack and midfield won’t have to force passes and shots as often without having to play from behind or fear for having to play from behind imminently.
Where do we go from here?
Next up, Chelsea have Newcastle and Sheffield, with Sheffield coming at the weekend. These are another two games that Chelsea shouldn’t feel pressured in but will have their work cut out for them to break down staunch defensive tactics from opposing managers. Mendy and the defense will have to keep on their toes to stand up the counter attacks of these two teams. With roughly two months until the opening of the winter transfer window, it would behoove Frank Lampard (and maybe Petr Cech, unless he wants to play?) to begin scouting for backup goalkeepers as their first transfer move of 2021.
Willy Caballero is actually older than Petr Cech, while Kepa should do an Alvaro Morata and get binned off somewhere to find his form and confidence elsewhere before he becomes totally useless and Chelsea are stuck with a mammoth wage bill to pay, like Arsenal and disgruntled #10 Mesut Ozil. That is for the future however, and for right now, Chelsea are in safe, huge hands thanks to Edouard Mendy.
It’s almost time for some of the most exciting and frustrating hours in world football – transfer deadline day. Chelsea are normally heavily involved, with the likes of David Luiz, Ashley Cole and Fernando Torres all previously joining us on the last day of a two month long window.
This time though, it seems as if Chelsea have done their business early. Hakim Ziyech was brought in as early as February, with Timo Werner joining us only a few months later, who was then followed by Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy and Malang Saar. 7 signings – you’d think that’s Chelsea’s transfer window done.
Wrong. Well, at least that’s what it seems like. There is a lot of business to be done with outgoings and trimming our squad down, and there also seems to be a chance that we could still bring in a defensive midfielder. All I’ll recommend is having Sky Sports News on for the next day, because it’s going to get thrilling. In this article, I’ll talk about the likelihood and my opinion of possible incomings and departures…. let’s get started!
Hudson-Odoi is a player who gets linked away every single window. This time though, it’s quite serious. Rumours started to rise after being the only fit natural winger against Brighton and Liverpool, yet finding himself on the bench. Frank Lampard is adamant on wanting to keep Callum at the club, and he also wants to stay. However, it’s the board which wouldn’t mind him leaving, as although they rejected a loan bid with an option to buy for £70m from Bayern Munich, it has been heavily reported that Chelsea could accept an important bid if there was an obligation to buy, which probably should worry Chelsea fans and it brings up many questions as to why the club are even thinking of selling one of the brightest talents the academy has ever produced. If I was to give my own opinion, I really can’t see this complicated deal happening as it would need time and that’s not available. Frank wants to keep him. He loves the club and wants to stay. So surely he remains a blue?
It’s definitely a very interesting situation with Loftus-Cheek, and I’m at the point where I cannot stop feeling disappointed with how his career has gone. On his day, at full fitness, he is genuinely in my opinion the best player at this club. But, his 13 month injury was another one added to the list, and every day we just pray he can get back to full fitness quickly. Under Lampard will he be able to get to full fitness? Probably not. His appearance against Brighton was certainly underwhelming, and since then hasn’t been involved in any of the Chelsea matchday squads, suggesting his departure on loan is coming. Out of nowhere, Ross Barkley went on loan to Aston Villa, meaning Chelsea have had to rethink about what to do with Ruben. On current form, he has Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Mount and Havertz all as options in front of him in midfield, and he couldn’t even get a minute in the Carabao Cup. As much as it pains to type, he needs to play at the age of 24 and he simply won’t get that at Chelsea. Whether he can finalise a loan move to another club is anothing thing, but there is a lot of interest in the England international and keep an eye on whether the club can send him out on loan despite his high wages…
Marcos Alonso & Emerson
I’m writing these two players in one, as for me only one of them is going to depart in this transfer window, with it likely being the Spaniard. Marcos Alonso’s return to Inter always seemed an option after simply not being good enough in a fullback role, and him leaving the club looks even more likely after his row with Frank Lampard after the game against West Brom, where he decided to watch the second half in the team bus instead of supporting the team from the sidelines. Emerson meanwhile almost looked guaranteed to leave to an Italian club, but when played this season, he actually looked impressive, whether that was at left-back or even at right-wing! The possiblity of both of them leaving is low as although Azpilicueta can easily cover both sides, Frank would feel much more comfortable with two fullbacks on each side of the pitch. Personally, a deadline day loan deal for Marcos to Inter will be done, although it’s important to keep an eye on the Brazilian’s situation too.
Tiemoue Bakayoko & Danny Drinkwater
Again, I put these two players together, not because it’s either one though, but more to show how easy it is for clubs to waste money. Bakayoko and Drinkwater cost us just under the price of Ziyech and Werner combined – put that into perspective. The Chelsea Spot had actually heard that there was a chance Bakayoko could stay at Chelsea if we desperately needed him, although a move did always seem the most likely option. For months and months he had been linked with top clubs including AC Milan, Napoli, PSG and more. And it looks like he’s finalising his deal to Naples in the next few hours… good luck to him!
Regarding one of our worst signings in history, I actually have no idea what’s going on with him. While writing this, I’ve also just remembered about Victor Moses who I think is still here! I’m guessing both are doing fitness work at the club, but I haven’t read a single report of either player leaving. We probably should try and get them off our wages and out of Cobham.
I mean, you have to feel bad for the German international, right? #AgentRudi was heavily involved in bringing Havertz and Werner to the best club in London, and then two months later is being completely isolated from the squad and Lampard’s plans. For me there is no doubt he is our worst centre-half at the club, but he does bring something to the dressing room and is also a great character, so I’m sure we will miss his presence more than his footballing abilites. Rudiger has not played a single minute so far for Frank this season, and his first choice is a move to Spurs, yet Chelsea are only going to let him move to our rival clubs if he signs a contract extension here before moving on loan. Napoli and Barcelona have also shown previous interest in the defender, but he’s a player who will almost guaranteed be leaving, so keep an eye on him.
Jorginho, Declan Rice & Thomas Partey
I’ve put all these three midfielders together because any involvement from any client will all be related to at least one other person in this list. Jorginho was incredible against Crystal Palace yesterday, but despite that performance I think his Chelsea career could be in danger soon, with Lampard wanting a more traditinonal 6 to protect the back four like a Declan Rice, or a 6 who can play next to Kante like a Thomas Partey, allowing Havertz to play as a 10 in front of them. Jorginho has heavy interest from Arsenal and Arteta is very interested in taking him on loan to join his fellow ex teammates in David Luiz and Willian, but Chelsea will still be slightly reluctact to be helping out a rival team. I think the plan for him is he will stay this window unless we sign a CDM in the next day, which Lampard still does want. The options at the moment seem to be either Rice, or Partey. Rice wants to join Chelsea, Chelsea desperately want Rice, and The Chelsea Spot understand that the deal is quite likely to happen one day, whether that is now or in the future transfer windows. But at the moment it seems like West Ham are holding their ground and refusing to sell him. Could anything change in the last 24 hours? Of course, and I’d be very surprised if a Chelsea bid didn’t go in to unsettle the West Ham board, but whether it can be done in 36 hours is the main hurdle. With Thomas Partey the deal would be much quicker as he has a release clause of £45 million, and he’s a player who Chelsea have scouted for quite some time now. All in all, if we’re going to sign one more player, it’ll be Partey or Rice, which will probably result in Jorginho leaving. All to watch for….
Sarr, McEachran & Castillo
The final three players to discuss, and they’re in the same paragraph as you most likely forgot about them! Sarr somehow isn’t on loan by now, after he had many discussions with Bayer Leverkusen and also Rennes where Chelsea used his as compensation for the Havertz and Mendy deals respectively. With only a day to go, nothing much has happened, and he does need to get his game-time as that was the whole reason we signed him on a free deal, in hope that he can develop and become a top quality centre-half in the future. He really should be going on loan soon.
George McEachran needs to experience first team football after being in the youth team for too long in my opinion, and even if that means he has to go to a low English league and work his way up, so be it. The technical midfielder struggled last season on loan in the Dutch second division, and he’s at the age where he needs to just get gametime and kick on with his career, as he certainly does have the potential in his boots.
Juan Castillo was at Ajax Jong last season and was set to sign for them this Summer, yet there were drastic last minute changes and he has found himself back in the Chelsea setup this season. It’s likely he’ll still move on loan again this season to get some more gametime, and who knows, could push into that Chelsea first team and challenge with Ian Maatsen.
I think I’ve covered all the players now…. if you want to find out updates on these players and how their moves are progressing, simply follow us on all our social media platforms!
Are there any players think have a higher/lower chance of leaving than what I said? Just let me know on my personal Twitter platform.
Chelsea have been the talk of the football world this summer following an extremely ambitious, decisive period of transfer signings. Over the past calendar year, the club welcomed Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic to the fold permanently, and followed that up with Hakim Ziyech putting pen to paper in the late winter just 3 months after THAT comeback against Ziyech’s Ajax. Of course, Frank Lampard and Co. then kicked off summer with a bang, bringing Timo Werner aboard and in recent weeks finishing off long-rumoured signings Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz as well as a cheeky Thiago Silva stop along the way. The club were put in a position to bring these players in however due to the impressive form of a handful of academy debutants, who played a major part in a 4th place finish. That was just the tip of the academy iceberg though, as this offseason we welcomed back another handful of young players loaned off to the far stretches of Europe. Can they have a similar impact to their counterparts and take Chelsea even further this year?
It’s no secret that Chelsea’s 2019-2020 campaign was impressive, but at the same time it was also unimpressive. The team regularly lacked a central defender with either positional awareness, aerial ability, the ability to actually make a tackle or all three – arguably bar Kurt Zouma. With Antonio Rudiger’s football agent talents on full display this summer, he is sure to have added another year onto his Chelsea lifeline at the very least despite the number of ghastly high profile errors he made last season. However, Rudiger’s friends Timo Werner and Kai Havertz aren’t the only talents coming from the Bundesliga to Chelsea.
Enter Ethan Ampadu, who for the third consecutive offseason has been pegged by Chelsea fans as a potential breakout star in defence and in midfield. This time however, Ampadu has yet again found himself out on loan, this season at Sheffield United with manager Chris Wilder running the show. Besides Ethan Ampadu in defence, returning are Jake Clarke-Salter and Matt Miazga. Who? The soon-23 year old and 25 year old center halves each made their senior debut in that 2015-16 season under Guus Hiddink, and only Miazga played in any senior Chelsea match since then (just one additional appearance). With 3 senior Chelsea appearances between them in 4 seasons, it’s probably a make or break time as the Loan Army XI is going to be welcoming some new faces. Miazga filled in for Cahill and Terry pretty admirably for a then 20 year old from the MLS, and Terry pegged the younger Clarke-Salter as his potential replacement and also remarked that he was a vocal player. While that could still happen, Clarke-Salter is now buried behind Zouma, Silva, Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and even Fikayo Tomori.
In addition to our defensive struggles, Frank Lampard has also had to battle with inconsistency in the midfield from time to time. With some ho-hum impact-less performances from Jorginho and N’golo Kante either injured or at times giving his best headless chicken, the base of the midfield is in a tepid situation at best. With this summer bringing about Declan Rice rumors, West Ham have been sure to protect their young star with a hefty rumored £80 million price tag. While Rice is a promising midfielder with the versatility to play at the back as well as the intangibles of a captain, the price tag does not suit a team who have already spent a fortune since the late winter while upgrading the team much more than Rice ever would. Chelsea might have better luck trying out other local options, which include the returning Tiemoue Bakayoko and Conor Gallagher, injury prone Ruben Loftus-Cheek or the recovering Billy Gilmour as understudies to either Kante or Jorginho. It seems highly unlikely that Frank Lampard would trust young midfielders to command the base of the midfield in such a promising and high pressure second season at Chelsea, although Conor Gallagher does have much more experience than the higher regarded Gilmour. Bakayoko isn’t a sexy option by any means and hasn’t always looked the part in a Chelsea shirt but hasn’t really played under tactics that fit his style. And, when comparing his 16/17 metrics to Rice’s 19/20, there isn’t a whole lot that separates the two. With the addition of Kai Havertz, a pivot of a more disciplined and refined Bakayoko and a healthy Kante could still be devastating to play against. With a move to Milan on the cards, he might not be seen in a Chelsea shirt again but I maintain that he’s at least worth a shot if he stays with us longer than anticipated. Additionally, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is more known for his power and offensive prowess, but giving him a try at the base of a midfield with some coaching might be a good move for him at this stage in his career in a bid to stay healthy and still play. The oft-injured midfielder would bring size and more technical ability than Kante and Jorginho combined and perhaps give Chelsea a little more kick in the final third, as well as someone who can win in the air and on the ground.
It’s been an exciting and also unnerving period for us fans after all the transfers and newly lofted expectations along with the uncertainty of some of the others on the current squad. However, it’s important to remember that even the greatest managers, such as our own Special One, and some of the greatest sides ever, never won without a little bit of experimentation along the way.
Chelsea have already confirmed the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech and are expected to have a busy transfer window with the club looking to offload a number of squad players.
But where do the new signings rank amongst the squad? Who should be starting every week? Who needs to be sold?
Well, here’s my rankings from “Star player” down to “Must be sold”
As you can see, the list is quite ‘bottom heavy’ with a large number of players thrown into the must be sold category. The likes of Bakayoko, Batshuayi and Pedro feature as they look destined to be moved on by the club and I doubt many Chelsea fans would disagree. There are, however, some admittedly controversial picks in this tier.
Jorginho is a player who has drastically divided the fanbase ever since he signed for the club in 2018. Since the restart, Jorginho has been out-of-favour and Chelsea managed to win four out of the five league games in which the Italian midfielder didn’t start, scoring an impressive 12 goals in the process. Due to injuries to both N’Golo Kanté and Billy Gilmour, Lampard was forced to hand Jorginho his first start against Sheffield United and The Blues were thumped 3-0 with many describing the performance as the “worst of the season” and Jorginho faced the brunt of the criticism due to a lacklustre display. Despite beating Norwich 1-0, Chelsea put in another fairly disappointing display which lacked urgency, tempo and attacking quality. Yet again, Jorginho started this game and for me, he’s a big part of the problem.
I personally don’t dislike Antonio Rudiger as much as most Chelsea fans seem to. I think he does offer some leadership and certainly has a physical presence which most of his peers lack, however if I’m being completely honest (and harsh) he simply cannot defend.
He’s a central defender… who can’t defend!
So, not only do I think Rudiger should be moved on but I also believe his calamitous partner Andreas Christensen has had more than enough chances at the club. These two are an actual comedy spectacle when they line up next to each other and while Andreas is still young and could improve, I just don’t think he’s suited to be a Premier League centre-half. Although he’s welcome to prove me wrong!
Finally from the bottom tier, Kepa has to be sold. I’ve never witnessed a goalkeeper at the top level struggle to stop shots so badly. The club are reportedly interested in Jan Oblak and Andre Onana, both of whom would massively improve our squad, so Arrizabalaga has to go.
Just as a caveat, Willian has been included in the ‘must be sold’ category solely based on his contract situation, otherwise I’d be happy for him to stick around for a year as a squad player.
The boys in the ‘loan’ list are fairly self explanatory. The teenage lads from the academy could do with a season on loan in the Championship or even League 1 to get acclimated with senior football. I’ve chucked Kenedy in there too just because I think he’s hugely underrated so I’d like the club to keep him on the books, but it looks likely that he’ll be leaving on a permanent basis.
The squad players section was fairly easy for me. Not all 23 first-teamers can be ‘world class’ (unless you’re Manchester City) so we need a solid bench consisting of players who can come into the squad when needed and make an impact. Players who “offer something different” are key throughout a squad and the likes of Olivier Giroud,Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso all tick that box. Giroud has proven his value since the restart and is still a goal threat, while Barkley has actually impressed at times throughout the season and by all accounts works extremely hard to improve himself. The reason I’d keep Alonso around is because he gives us the option to switch to a three-at-the-back system whereas Emerson, for me, just offers very little.
There’s absolutely no reason why both Billy Gilmour and Tammy Abraham cannot be starters next season. They both have the quality as they have proven already, but due the signing of Timo Werner and Lampard moving Kanté into a deeper role, I think that they may not be nailed on to start week-in week-out next year but both will certainly play a crucial role in the long-term.
The regular starters that I’ve selected are a perfect blend of youth and experience in my opinion. Azpilicueta has proven to still be a quality captain and player throughout the season and I believe that Frank Lampard is a big fan of the spaniard, Reece James is also battling for the same position though and deserves to be a starter so we may see ‘Dave’ continue to feature as a left-back. However, if we do sign Tagliafico, Telles, Chilwell or whoever it may be then that could knock one of Azpilicueta or James down a tier.
It’s pretty much impossible to fit all of Kovacic, Mount and Loftus-Cheek into one starting eleven but all three players offer different skill sets which are incredibly valuable to this Chelsea side. Mason Mount has been the club’s player of the season for me, his quality both on and off the ball is outstanding and to have contributed so much in his debut Premier League season is hugely impressive. He’s absolutely key to Frank’s system and therefore should and will start the majority of games next season wether we sign Havertz or not.
I honestly believe that a fully fit Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of the best players in the Premier League. He’s the definition of ‘complete midfielder’ and can offer both a goal threat and be a creative outlet. His physical strength combined with immense technical ability when in full flight makes him a defender’s nightmare and if he can get back to his best next season then he has to be a starter.
Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi have both suffered injury problems as of late but are two of England’s brightest talents. Zouma and Tomori’s partnership in the first half of the season was far from perfect but was certainly the most encouraging central defensive set-up we’ve seen. Chelsea fans rightly love Hudson-Odoi and despite all of his off-the-pitch issues this season he has the quality to set the standard for young Premier League players next season.
Werner, Ziyech, Pulisic, Kantè. Is that the best “big four” since the Warriors lined up with Curry, Thompson, Draymond and KD?
Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are nailed on to be top, top players next season for Chelsea. They’re two of the most dynamic and exciting players in the Premier League and will improve Chelsea’s already strong attack ten-fold. Christian Pulisic’s form since the restart has all Blues fans convinced that he’s the real deal, adding goals to his game and beginning to remind fans of a certain Eden Hazard due to his immense dribbling ability. N’Golo Kanté’s inclusion as a star player needs no justification, despite injury issues this year he’s clearly a world class player who would start for any and every team in Europe.
So, that’s my personal ranking of next season’s Chelsea squad. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know @TheChelseaSpot
*I (stupidly) forgot to include Ethan Ampadu in this tier list. Personally I’d like to see him as a squad player next season but he could benefit from another loan.
Chelsea held on for a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace as Olivier Giroud, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham each scored for the Blues. The Eagles applied the pressure late in the game but it was not enough to help them come back to win. Wilfred Zaha and Christian Benteke each scored in their loss.
The win moved Chelsea a step further towards a top four finish in the Premier League as they try to solidify a spot into Champions League next season.
A close match between the two London clubs and a good three points for Chelsea’s but what else can we take away from the game?
Jorginho Finally Makes His Appearance On The Pitch
Chelsea looked set to win the match when Abraham scored at the 71st minute. His goal increased their lead to 3-1 and looked as if they were going to easily cruise to a victory. A minute later, Benteke scored a goal for Palace and the game had a turn of events. The Eagles started to apply pressure and Chelsea struggled to advance the ball out of their back end.
Frank Lampard elected to bring Jorginho off the bench in the 80th minute. It was the first time the midfielder had playing time since March 3rd against Liverpool in the FA Cup and he reminded many people why he’s vital to this club. The Italian was assertive, calm and composed as he shifted the tempo of the game into Chelsea’s favour.
He showed good awareness and provided a tactical intelligence which limited Palace from having possession. The midfielder positioned himself into areas where his teammates were able to make outlet passes. The game seemed destined for a draw but Jorginho provided a different element which helped weather the storm.
Jorginho has a good read for the game and his efforts were well warranted. He could we have earned himself a starting berth In Chelsea’s tough trip to Sheffield this weekend, depending on the fitness of N’Golo Kanté.
Should Chelsea Consider Re-signing Willian?
Back in June, Willian signed a short-term contract that will see him play with Chelsea for the remainder of the season. The ongoing rumours about Willian’s future with Chelsea haven’t died down and continues to be a main topic in the transfer rumour mill. Should Chelsea consider keeping the Brazilian beyond this season?
Willian has been one of the most productive players since the Premier League restarted. The winger has contributed to seven goals in the last five matches (including FA Cup) and has been one of the most consistent players for Chelsea. In the win against Palace, Willian finished with two assists, five key passes, two shots on target and was fouled once.
In Chelsea’s first goal, he made a great run down the right side and beat Gary Cahill. He then delivered a pass to Giroud in the six yard box which the striker converted.
Later in the match, he set-up their second goal and showed great awareness. He made a clean pass towards Christian Pulisic who made his run towards the box and sent a polarizing shot towards the back of the goal. Throughout the match, Willian showed great character as he kept running and didn’t stop until the final whistle.
Willian has been a key element to Chelsea’s success and is one if the main reasons why Chelsea are currently sitting in third place. His recent performances show what he’s able to deliver on the pitch and the club should consider keeping him on their squad.
The winger has earned praise from Lampard and has been one of his most dependable players since the restart;
“Willian was extremely influential and he and Christian [Pulisic] are a big threat for us”
“The impact Willian is having in all the games at the moment, with his speed and how he travels with the ball, and his quality, we all see it every game. he has been brilliant for us.”
Christian Pulisic Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down
Pulisic had a slow start to the season and found himself in and out of the lineup. He was frustrated with the lack of playing time, yet he knew the transition to the Premier League wasn’t going to be easy. Pulsic’s name wasn’t on the scoresheet until October 26, 2019, when he scored a hat trick versus Burnley. It was an overwhelming start to the season but the American was starting to come around under Lampard.
In January, Pulisic had a set back as he picked up a serious injury that sidelined him for the long-term. In the midst of playing good football, it was a big a blow to Chelsea. The season came to an abrupt stop in March due to Covid-19 and this allowed time for Pulisic to recover and rejoin his teammates
Since the restart of the campaign, he has taken his game to another level where he has been more clinical and fearless. He has finished his chances in the final third which was evident in the goal he scored off Willian’s pass. In the past five matches, he has scored three goals and has looked more tenacious with the ball.
He has been one of Lampard’s most reliable players and has shown no signs of easing up. He has been an integral part of their recent success and is showing why Chelsea acquired him last season.
“He has great talent, we know that. At the start he came here in difficult conditions in terms of him not really having had a break, but he started to play really well and now he has moved his game to another level, not just in how he is going to by people but there is real-end product”
“You look at the top attacking players in the world and they score goals and make assists regularly that win games and at the moment he is doing that, so I am delighted with him.”
There’s our three takeaways from the victory over Palace, let us know what you thought of the match!
Chelsea signed Jorginho Frello from Napoli, along with Maurizio Sarri, in the summer of 2018. Having delved deep into their pockets to fork out over £50M he was destined to become a key asset for the club and so he has been a regular starter since his arrival. Despite this, no player has ever divided the Chelsea fanbase more than the Brazil-born midfielder, so I’m going to give my honest and balanced opinion in this article.
Jorginho is surplus to requirements.
Immediately after reading that headline I’m aware that some of the readers may strongly disagree, and may have even left this page in order to write a strongly worded tweet. That’s fine. Opinions do make football after all. It is my opinion that Jorginho is surplus to requirements at Chelsea, however that doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad footballer.
A section of Chelsea fans on Jorginho
I strongly agree with the case that Jorginho is a ‘misunderstood’ player – his ability to perform in a particular, fairly one-dimensional role is second to none. He has made the ‘regista’position his own and I can not deny that in a system that is built to utilise this role, while papering over his flaws, Jorginho can be an immense footballer.
The Italian international did fail to register a single assist in last season’s Premier League campaign and that stat is often used as a stick to beat Jorginho. Personally, I don’t care about his assist records because that’s not his job – he’s being unfairly compared to the great Cesc Fàbregas. At times he can show a fantastic level of vision, for example the brilliant assist to set-up Tammy Abraham’s goal against Watford. However, some Chelsea fans would argue that Jorginho tries that pass every game without it coming off. I can appreciate his skillset and qualities, but I don’t think his range of ability is wide enough which means he severely lacks the versatility required to succeed long-term. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced he’s suited (or good enough) for the future of Chelsea Football Club under Frank Lampard.
For me, Chelsea may need a more traditional and robust player in the heart of midfield. I won’t discuss possible options for this role, as that’s a totally different article*cough* Ethan Ampadu *cough*. Lampard’s men have clearly faltered defensively this season and the blame cannot be pinned onto one player, so I’m not trying to scapegoat Jorginho, however I’m of the belief that much of these frailties stem from central midfield.
“Your defensive midfielder needs to be able to run. Jorginho can not run”
The Chelsea Spot admin and writer Orlando on Jorginho. (@0rland1nho)
Numbers don’t lie, and I’m aware Jorginho’s defensive figures on the surface look impressive. His tackles and interceptions are amongst the highest in the league – that’s a fact so I won’t argue against it. However, having watched every single Chelsea game this season and last, I can’t help but notice that Jorginho is actually a burden to whichever defensive pairing sits behind him. He lacks the pace to recover once the ball is played beyond him or when he gets dribbled past – often leaving the defence exposed. I’m not claiming our centre-backs are blameless themselves either, but having a solid shield in front of them would only benefit the team, especially considering we have a fairly young roster of central defenders – with Antonio Rudiger the most senior at the club despite barely yet reaching his prime years.
The emergence of Billy Gilmour could seal Jorginho’s fate
Now I’m going to contradict myself. I think Billy Gilmour is a phenomenal option for Chelsea in central midfield – despite not being the ‘robust’ player I just claimed we needed. Football isn’t linear, it can be successful in a million different systems, so utilising a deep-lying playmaker like Jorginho can be advantageous. I don’t think using the role of a ‘regista’ is particularly problematic but it can become an issue when the player in question, in this case Jorginho, highly lacks adaptability. I genuinely believe that Billy Gilmour is already a more multi-faceted player than Jorginho and therefore if Frank Lampard intends to play with a deep-playmaker then the young Scotsman is the future.
“There is not a single footballing aspect that Jorginho is better than Billy Gilmour at”
I’ve gauged the opinions of a few of my colleagues from The Chelsea Spot (see the above quotes) and I wholeheartedly agree with Orlando. Gilmour offers a much more wide and diverse range of passing, he’s able to find the final ball more consistently than Jorginho and seemingly looks to advance possession through the thirds with the ball at his feet much more often. The 18-year-old also possesses much greater pace and dribbling ability, which allows him to recover defensively as well as float past incoming challenges while he’s on the ball – something Jorginho simply cannot do. Gilmour also is certainly not afraid of getting in the thick of it and going up for headers, despite only being 5’6”, as seen when he won two out of two aerial duels against Liverpool in the FA Cup. Although the Chelsea Academy graduate obviously lacks experience, I’m convinced he’s the best choice to start games in this position. Despite this, I will accept that I have made my judgement on a small sample size in terms of first-team games.
Stats, stats, stats!
Stats and numbers can be useful tools in the modern game, no doubt. Quite a few of these figures actually back-up Jorginho’s contributions to the Chelsea side but I beg to differ. As seen in the above graph, Jorginho plays more final third passes than any other player who features. Now I won’t deny that that’s impressive, however what that graph doesn’t tell you is actually how effective those final third passes are. Performing a ‘successful’ pass isn’t technically that difficult, especially if the majority of them are directly to the feet of a player who is stood in acres of space. Jorginho’s passes rarely actually kickstart an effective attack and the intangible factors, such as speed, timing and exact placement of pass are hugely important. For maintaining possession Jorginho is excellent, but his passing quality has become massively overrated – the vast majority of balls he plays are safe, simple and often even slow to reach their target. As mentioned earlier, though, that doesn’t mean that Jorginho isn’t capable of the odd moment of magic. In order for this graph to be useful in that respect, it would need to use metrics which take in to account how many risky passes the players attempt, and what percentage of those actually reach their target.
“Regardless of what people think of Jorginho’s ability or usefulness on the field, he’d be a brilliant mentor to the likes of Ampadu and Gilmour in terms of movement and positioning”
The Chelsea Spot admin Tomas on Jorginho’s influence off the pitch. (@TomasBlackCFC)
Another intangible is off-the-field factors. I do believe that Jorginho can benefit the team in this sense. He’s clearly an intelligent player with good positional awareness and he does offer some good leadership qualities, hence why Frank Lampard made him vice-captain. The likes of Billy Gilmour, Ethan Ampadu and even Ross Barkley could potentially learn from Jorginho. I don’t think this is enough to save his position in the squad though. It’s easy to forget that Chelsea paid an eye-watering £55M for the Italian and no matter how good a teacher he may be to the younger players, that’s not good value. Besides, I reckon Frank Lampard is probably the better option when it comes to mentoring the young midfielders at the club – he is the best to ever play the position after all!
A game that is often brought to light during this debate is Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Arsenal in December. The Blues struggled in the opening half an hour of the game and ended up 1-0 down, until Lampard subbed off Emerson for Jorginho and the game completely changed. Chelsea took control of the game and went on to steal all three points at the Emirates, with Jorginho being praised for changing the game. He had a good game, no doubt, but what actually changed the game was the switch in system from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3. This formation change allowed Chelsea to regain control of midfield, and I think that regardless of which central player came on (Jorginho was definitely the best option) in replacement of Emerson, this would have been the case.
Time to cash-in?
28-year-old Jorginho is in his prime years and will have a number of admirers across world football, so still holds some transfer value. Chelsea will struggle to make profit, or even break even if they do decide to sell the player – however, if a reasonable bid comes in, I believe Marina should grab her pen and sign off all the documents immediately.
“He (Jorginho) still has his limitations under Lampard’s system in which he isn’t as effective due to being higher up the pitch most of the time, and Frank is looking for a much more athletic team”
Chief-Editor of The Chelsea Spot Paree on Jorginho. (@ACParee)
Chelsea have moved on from the football played by Maurizio Sarri and while Jorginho is a good player, he’s just not suited to the flexible style of football that Frank Lampard’s team set out to play. With the Blues seemingly targeting the likes of Jadon Sancho amid reports that Roman Abramovich wants a ‘marquee’ signing, funds will need to be raised, especially with the COVID-19 epidemic effecting teams’ transfer budgets. Therefore, I believe that Jorginho’s time should be up at Chelsea, and if he were to leave then I’d wish him all the best.
That’s my opinion on Jorginho. To be honest this debate has been exhausted for about 18 months now, but I’mof the opinion that as Chelseafans we should be able to see both sides of the discussion. Tweet us @TheChelseaSpot if you’d like to give your thoughts!