As we come towards the end of our 2021/22 season reports of Chelsea players, Mateo Kovacic is next in line in the spotlight...
It was another outstanding Chelsea season from central midfielder Kovacic, who featured in 44 of our 63 games in the season, which began in Belfast in the Super Cup last August. The Croatian missed the latter stages of 2021 and it was notable when he was absent from Thomas Tuchel’s side, with both his passing and tackling ability missing from the engine room.
A worthy Goal of the Season winner
Mateo’s stunning volley against Liverpool in our first match of 2022 was voted as Chelsea's Goal of the Season, and it is not hard to see why. He may not be a player often associated with scoring screamers, but his second and final goal of the campaign showed incredible technique and ability, while it was the first of two goals which inspired a fightback against the Reds.
After Marcos Alonso’s free-kick was punched clear of the box by goalkeeper Alisson, Kovacic did excellently when backpedalling to meet the flight of the ball, before smashing a first-time volley perfectly over the crowded penalty area and in off the inside of the right-hand post.
The strike also won the Premier League’s Goal of the Month award for January, a prize Kovacic claims to have not expected to win.
A bright beginning
The 28-year-old contributed to four goals in his first five Premier League appearances of the season, with three assists and a goal to his name across this stretch.
His home performance against Aston Villa in September was one of his most accomplished of the campaign, with his assist for Romelu Lukaku’s first ever Stamford Bridge goal standing out.
Kovacic avoided two challenges in the centre of the park before playing an inch-perfect through ball for the Belgian striker to latch onto, before he calmy finished. It went from the edge of our own penalty area to the back of the Villa net in just over 10 seconds, with Kovacic’s brilliance a major factor.
His well-deserved goal, and first of the season, came when he latched onto a short back pass from Tyrone Mings, before he composed himself to cooly send a chip over goalkeeper Jed Steer.
A cruel winter period
Kovacic had little to no luck during the Christmas schedule, picking up an injury towards the end of October before he contracted Covid-19 on his return to training.
The midfielder played 90 minutes of our Carabao Cup shoot-out win over Southampton in October, which was his final appearance for the club until our 0-0 stalemate at a misty Molineux six days before Christmas. Kovacic missed 11 matches in his spell on the sidelines. On his return, he played a landmark game.
A strong relationship with the boss
Thomas Tuchel is often heard speaking highly of his influential midfielder, and our German head coach has made it clear just how important he views Kovacic’s qualities are to this Chelsea side.
Mateo Kovacic 2021/22 season stats
Mateo Kovacic Premier League appearances 2021/22
Mateo Kovacic played 25 games in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, coming off the bench in nine of these.
Mateo Kovacic Champions League appearances 2021/22
Mateo Kovacic made six appearances in the Champions League this season, just one of these coming from the bench.
Mateo Kovacic FA Cup appearances 2021/22
Mateo Kovacic played five games in the FA Cup this season, all of which came from the start.
Mateo Kovacic Carabao Cup appearances 2021/22
Mateo Kovacic played five times in the Carabao Cup this season, four of these coming from the start.
Mateo Kovacic Super Cup and Club World Cup appearances 2021/22
Mateo Kovacic competed in both games at the Club World Cup. He also started the Super Cup final.
Mateo Kovacic goals 2021/22
Mateo Kovacic scored two goals for Chelsea in 2021/22, both in the league.