By 90Min
March 04, 2019

Chelsea's 2-1 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday saw a scarcely used chant resurface in the away terraces. 

No, not: "Tottenham Hotspur, it's happened again!" That's all too familiar. The one-word serenade of Chelsea's much-maligned central midfielder Jorge Luiz Frello Filho. 

The chant itself wasn't spectacular, just the droning of his name to a quasi-tune ('Jorginhoooo, Jorginhooooo, Jorginho, Jorginho, Jorginhooooo' and repeat) but it was still a massive moment for the player in question. Because things haven't been easy for the Brazilian-born Italian.

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You would think for someone as travelled as that, acclimatisation would come easily. But his adaption to the Premier League has been fraught. Initially, it was all sunshine, rainbows, stutter-pens and stat-gushing. But soon the tide turned. 

Teams 'worked him out', or just relentlessly pressed him. He had less time to regista his way out of trouble, and few teammates versed enough in the intrepid ways of passing it out from the back under considerable pressure to counteract this.

He was consistently overrun in midfield and occasionally soft in the tackle. And he was doing this all while shunting N'Golo Kante to the right, away from his natural habitat - in that it is literally his domain and no one else in the world can lay claim to it, least of all Jorginho, apparently. 

Personally, I've been a defender of the Italian during his time of need - partly for professional pride (if you can't be bothered to click through, I called him the best signing of the summer in July), partly for Maurizio Sarri-in connections, partly for evident talent and unfair levels of criticism in a team where issues were rife.

But, even with those caveats, I'll admit there were times when the 27-year-old's style of play was grating. Plenty of times, to be honest. Not that I was one of those senseless few who booed the midfielder, I'm just talking a few harmless expletives aimed at a tv screen. Harmless stuff. 

And, if we're speaking candidly, Sunday was actually no exception. In fact, 90 seconds or so before he spectacularly proved me wrong, I may have given him a decent grilling about being soft in the tackle and not taking control of the game. You know, the usual. 

But then, out of nowhere, the ball presented it to himself courtesy of a classic Eden Hazard cut in and, suddenly - but not suddenly enough so as to miss the artistry - the ball was rippling the top corner of Sergio Rico's net.

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It was an effortless strike. It was (appropriately) pass-like in its technique and accuracy, but powerful enough to leave Rico with little to do but watch. And, even more pleasing, was the release of tension as the net bustled. The craning of the neck, the clenching of the fists, the wolf-like howl. It was all there to depict a player who's felt the pressure this term, and has finally, after some increasingly impressive showings, found the perfect response. 

And the goal wasn't just personal redemption for the Italian. It wasn't just a vital winner in a back and forth clash for the Blues. It was a milestone. Not only did it double his goalscoring tally for this season, it also meant he doubled Kevin De Bruyne's league total in the same swoop.

What, Kevin De Bruyne of 'he's-obviously-going-to-be-PFA-POTY' fame? That Kevin De Bruyne? Oh, I see.

"But, he still doesn't have an assist, does he? Pathetic." 

Unfortunately, that is true. But so is this (per Squawka): with 20 chances created from open play, Jorginho has at least five more than any Liverpool midfielder, including Georginio Wijnaldum (15), James Milner (15), Fabinho (13), Jordan Henderson (8), Naby Keita (AKA the new and improved N'Golo Kante - 5). 

So, hold on, Jorginho's creativity has been stifled by profligacy up front? At Chelsea Football Club? It can't be. Three of those such chances were created yesterday, and all three realistically should've been assists. But, the beauty of Jorginho is that he doesn't care. 

He's not in it for assists. He's not even really in it for the passing stats, either, even if he may remain glued to the top of said league chart, and appear to occasionally stat-pad. He's in it to execute his manager's plan. And, at times, he's appeared the only member of the Blues squad fulfilling this charge. 

But the club's three last outings have thrown this equation completely out of whack. As Antonio Rudiger outlined after the game, both player and manager have finally learned to adapt. 

Speaking to ESPN, after a commanding birthday performance from the German, the centre back explained: "He learned from that game against Manchester City. There we went high, we went to press, we wanted to win the ball and everyone knows what happened.

"You saw the way we played against Tottenham and Manchester City. It was different to the way we played in the first three months. Everyone needs to adapt, everyone needs to learn and it is good that it has happened in this moment."

It certainly is, Toni. After a torrid turn of the year, the Pensioners finally seem to be back on track, without a second to lose. Their top four fate is now in their hands. 

Many have people have warranted praise for this reversal, though not everyone has received it, including N'Golo Kante, who has been relentlessly good of late - blossoming in his sacrilegious attacking role like nobody *cough* thought possible - and Sarri himself. 

But Jorginho - who stymied City's midfield masters in the cup final and topped all the principle defensive stats against Spurs - can finally count himself among the receivers. Now, if he could just get that assist, then that Best Signing of the Summer™ awards campaign can really get up and running again.

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