Jorginho is the next focus of our feature looking in detail at how the 2019/20 season was going for each of our players before the football pause.
The 28-year-old has become a key part of the team since following Maurizio Sarri from Naples to west London in the summer of 2018 and was made vice-captain by Frank Lampard in pre-season. His consistent midfield displays have earned him the trust of the new boss and his best goalscoring season for six years has added a useful attacking threat to his game…
Jorginho: 36 appearances (four as a sub), seven goals, two assists
‘He’s a character, a driver and that’s very evident on the pitch. I watched him in a lot of games in the run-in last year and I know he had a bit of a tough time but I was really struck by his bravery on the ball – he always wanted it. I was excited to work with him. He’s one of those infectious players, he cajoles others on the pitch.’
Frank Lampard spoke glowingly of Jorginho’s qualities when confirming him as the team’s vice-captain at the start of the season, praising his ability to control games both through technical, metronomic midfield composure and in organising team-mates when in or out of possession. His reliance on the Italian is borne out by the fact he’s only missed five games in all competitions all season.
Jorginho’s first campaign in England was a solid one, particularly when viewed through the prism often afforded to players adapting to the Premier League for the first time. He missed just one league game and was only bettered for outfield minutes by David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta as the Blues finished third and won the Europa League.
However, there was also some criticism in relation to the team’s style of play due to his role as the fulcrum in midfield. ‘I arrived with another manager and I ended up hearing some things that were honestly unfair,’ he said recently.
‘I’ve never challenged those views and they actually gave me strength because inside I knew they were wrong. I wanted to prove them wrong and work quietly like I’ve always done.’
A popular member in the dressing room, Jorginho’s importance to the group was reinforced when Lampard made him vice-captain following Azpilicueta’s promotion. He featured in all but two of our opening 23 matches of the season, afforded a rest in the Carabao Cup when Grimsby came to town and then suspended against Crystal Palace.
His only absence this term not due to rest or an accumulation of yellow cards was away at Everton in early December.
No player completed more passes in the Premier League last season than Jorginho’s 3,118, underlining his key role in dictating play from deep and central areas. While he remains a high-scorer in that metric this campaign, ranking seventh with 1,861 passes to date, there have been some subtle changes to his distribution that have improved his attacking output.
His average passes per game and pass success rate are both down on 2018/19 numbers but long balls per game have increased from 2.5 to 3.7 and, crucially, he has two assists this season compared to none last term. This more forward-thinking refinement was evidenced with Tammy Abraham’s opener away at Watford in November, with Jorginho’s first-time pass splicing open the Hornets’ defence.
‘What I see in Jorginho is a quality of pass and I want to see him use his range,’ said Lampard earlier in the season. The statistics would suggest that has been the case, even if both player and coach will want even more once the season resumes next week.
Seven of Jorginho’s nine Chelsea goals to date have come from the penalty spot, with both open-play strikes netted in away London derbies (at Fulham last season and Arsenal this campaign).
In fact, he hasn’t yet missed from 12 yards in normal time as his inimitable hop, skip and shoot technique continues to confound Premier League goalkeepers. The one time he was thwarted came in last season’s Carabao Cup final shootout when he was denied by Ederson.
There was some debate back in September over our designated spot-kick taker when Ross Barkley’s effort late on against Valencia crashed against the crossbar in a 1-0 defeat but after finding the net later that month against Brighton, Lampard clarified the matter.
‘Jorginho is the penalty taker now,’ he confirmed. ‘I don’t mind having different penalty takers but when Jorginho is on the pitch, he can take them and if he takes them like today then he can keep going.’
The Blues haven’t missed from the spot since, with the Italy international having dispatched against Ajax (twice), Burnley and Arsenal, as well on three occasions for the national team.
Jorginho’s Premier League stats 2019/20
Their season so far: Cesar Azpilicueta
Their season so far: Kepa Arrizabalaga
Their season so far: Tammy Abraham
Jorginho Premier League appearances 2019/20
Jorginho has played 26 times in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, three as a substitute.
Jorginho Champions League appearances 2019/20
Jorginho has started all seven of our Champions League games this season.
Jorginho FA Cup appearances 2019/20
Jorginho has played in two of our three FA Cup ties this season, one as a substitute.
Jorginho League Cup appearances 2019/20
Jorginho played once in our Carabao Cup campaign this season, starting the fourth-round defeat at home to Manchester United.
Jorginho goals 2019/20
Jorginho has scored seven goals for Chelsea this season, six of which have come from the penalty spot. He also netted both home and away in the Premier League against Arsenal, with his equaliser at the Emirates in December the only goal from open play.