Maurizio Sarri arrived at Chelsea before the beginning of this season and has a lot of issues to address- be it the goalscoring crisis or the defense which hasn’t looked convincing. One particular area that the Italian would be happy about is the depth in the midfield. New signing Jorginho has already established himself as a starter while Mateo Kovacic is settling in. Apart from Jorginho, World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has proven vital for the Chelsea midfield. To field a midfield 3 from a wide variety of players is a choice Sarri would be happy to make. Cesc Fabregas is a seasoned campaigner and Chelsea could do with his experience when Jorginho needs to rest.
Let’s take a look at the Chelsea midfielders and what their roles are in Sarri-ball. N’Golo Kante is arguably the best central defensive midfielder in the world right now but under Mauricio Sarri his role is a little different. We are all used to seeing him recover balls in midfield, make vital interceptions and put in impeccable challenges. This season his role is a bit further up the field with Jorginho trying to find him with long balls and often we see Kante in goal scoring positions.
Kante needs to work on his finishing and with him you can always tell that he will do just that. Ross Barkley was one of the brightest stars at Everton. He could dribble, defend and score goals; everything you would want in a midfielder. A serious injury stunted his development. He signed for Chelsea in the winter transfer window of 2017-18. The #8 shirt at Chelsea comes with very high expectations.
His role in Sarri-ball is alongside Kante was clearly evident from the match against Arsenal, he has a lot of potential and a huge room for improvement. Getting in attacking positions is what he does brilliantly. He still needs to work on his defensive side as his tracking back is not good enough. Things can only get better for him and under Maurizio Sarri he can finally get close to becoming the player many pundits think he has the potential of becoming.
Mateo Kovacic came to Chelsea on a loan deal this season and so far things have looked positive. He is pretty good with the ball at his feet and can operate in tight spaces. In the 30 minutes he played against Arsenal we saw him combining well with Hazard. He had an unreal pass accuracy of 100% in that period. Real Madrid couldn’t provide him the game time and perhaps Maurizio Sarri can give him the game time he needs to develop further. Ruben Loftus Cheek is another underutilized Chelsea player who has impressed pundits from all over.
The fact that Chelsea refused to loan him this season shows the club’s intent of holding onto a player they regard highly. Chelsea fans want to see more of him in a Chelsea shirt and he could very well play an important role in the cup games or even the league. Cesc Fabregas is one of the greatest play-makers ever to have played in the Premier League. A player who is well past his prime won’t feature a lot for Chelsea this season. Chelsea could do with his experience as a impact substitute who can be brought on in the last 30 minutes when Chelsea desperately need a goal. He could be among the starters when Chelsea play in the FA or the Carabao Cup. Danny Drinkwater hasn’t featured for Chelsea yet and it is unclear what Mauricio Sarri has planned for him.
Summer signing Jorginho has already established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet and rightly so. Playing deep and just in front of the back four, he dictates play and has brilliant vision and the ability to pick players out with long balls. He also features a lot in one-twos with the forwards and can easily switch flanks which stretches the opposition defense. Chelsea will also benefit from his penalty-taking abilities. So far so good for the Chelsea midfield and the fans will hope that things get only better. If Chelsea sort out their defensive vulnerability they can easily get a top 4 spot in the English Premier League.