Comment: The Importance of Chelsea's Midfield to Mounting A Title Challenge

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The double pivot Thomas Tuchel has been so reliant on in his nine month stint as Chelsea manager has been paramount to their dominance in Europe and impressive start to this season's Premier League campaign. 

With strict instructions placed on his midfielders throughout his tenure he has been able to transform the likes of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, who were both nominated for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award with the Italian pipping his teammate and Kevin De Bruyne for the prize.

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In this piece I’ll assess the importance of both Jorginho and Kante and how their improved game under Tuchel could give their side a needed push for the Premier League title this season.

After a cagey opening 45 minutes versus visitors Aston Villa on Saturday, Saul was replaced by Jorginho who’s impact was startling when you compare his presence on the pitch now to his opening season in 2018. The Italian has been transformed under Tuchel after it looked for sometime that his future was set to be away from Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard.

The former Napoli midfielder has mastered his current role next to Kante where his ability to distribute the ball quickly and efficiently has become crucial to the progressive, expansive football Tuchel and his backroom staff look to implement on the pitch. In his three seasons in blue, the Ballon D’or front runner has averaged an impressive 73 passes per game as he looks to collect the ball off his centre backs before playing simple and effective passes to create patterns of play at the base of the shape.

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Jorginho’s composure combined with his technical excellence with both feet allows him to be a luxury player who could feature in most systems in the world due to his unique talent necessary at the top level.

"Jorgi is a very strategic player," Tuchel said of Jorginho earlier this season. "He knows what to do in possession, he can imagine what is going to happen one or two passes ahead and he knows where to help out in short distances and longer distances."

The tenacity and defensive capabilities of Kante is a perfect counter weight to fine tune Chelsea’s midfield and has turned Tuchel’s side into a resilient and one of the most technically sound systems in Europe.

After a spectacular end of last season where he picked up three consecutive man of the match performances in both legs of the Champions League semi-finals and the Final in Porto, Kante has solidified himself as a world class defensive midfielder who’s energy on the field matched with his astonishing defensive awareness makes him an irreplaceable member of Chelsea’s system despite injuries hampering the start to his 21-22 campaign.

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The 30-year-old who’s set to enter contract talks with the Blues in the coming weeks will be integral to this Chelsea side who will rely heavily on his touch and go fitness throughout the season. When at his best the two time Premier League winner can control a midfield on his own and has the numbers to support this.

In the Blues’ 2-0 win versus Real Madrid in the Champions League Kante won 100 per cent of his aerial duels as well as four interceptions and four duels. His energy in the final third to recover loose balls was paramount to Mason Mount's goal to send Chelsea into the final and embodies everything about the frenchman who the Blues faithful love all so well.

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With the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Saul at Tuchel’s disposal it is clear Chelsea’s wealth in depth is enviable for other teams competing with them this season. 

As football has transitioned into a possession based game with midfielders being relied on to beat the opposition press, there is no better team equipped to put their marker down for the title than Chelsea this season. 

With high profile fixtures versus Tottenham and Manchester City on the horizon, Tuchel will be relying heavily on his midfield duo to perform at their best to support the team and bring home six needed points from Chelsea’s next two league fixtures.


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