Maurizio Sarri took charge of Chelsea in the summer, and his midfield linchpin Jorginho joined him in London.
The duo came over from Napoli in Italy, where they contributed heavily to some truly artistic football. Sarri conjured up a magical team in Naples, and Jorginho was the man who orchestrated proceedings on the pitch.
The Italian midfielder has played a similar role at Stamford Bridge. Let’s analyse how he has fared in comparison to last season in Italy.
What does Jorginho do? That’s right, he passes the ball. He made the more passes per game than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues last season. The trend has continued, and he broke the record for a Premier League game with 180 passes against West Ham in September. Jorginho’s passes per game have gone from 96.9 to 90.3 in the league, which is only a slight drop.
His creativity has significantly dwindled, though. The key passes per game have halved from 1.5 to 0.7, and he is yet to register an assist for Chelsea. His forward passes have dropped as well, from 22.2 to 20.5 per game. Maybe this can be credited to an early settling period for him, and we could be yet to see his creative side for Chelsea. His pass success rate has slightly increased from 89.5% to 91%, which is explained by the reluctance to attempt those penetrating passes.
One of the reasons for this is the relative lack of movement off the ball at Chelsea. Only Alvaro Morata and Pedro really threaten to make those runs in behind, and neither are guaranteed starters. On the other hand at Napoli, the trio of Mertens, Insigne, and Callejon all gave Jorginho passing options.
Considering the type of player Jorginho is, certain statistics don’t really matter much. These are dribbles completed, shots taken, aerial duels won, and others. Numbers like these are foreign to the Italian, and they have remained meagre.
As Jorginho plays the role of the deepest midfielder for his side, there is naturally some defensive responsibility upon him. Those stats have taken a beating this season.
The interceptions are down for Jorginho, from 1.5 per game last season to 1.1. So are his tackles, and he has made 1.4 per game this season compared to the 1.9 last campaign. The fouls committed have also gone down, from 1 to 0.7 per game. On the other hand, metrics like clearances and blocks have gone up. Clearances have rocketed from 0.3 to 1 per game, and he has blocked 0.5 shots and crosses compared to just 0.1 last season.
Now, these numbers are quite indicative of his position. The lowering of interceptions, fouls, and tackles tell that his position is deeper this season. His increase in clearances and blocks also support this conclusion.
Jorginho completed 32.4 passes in the final third last season, but this season that number is a lowly 15.9. This clearly illustrates the slight change in position for the Italian.
What does the future hold?
All in all, Jorginho has naturally played a different role for Chelsea compared to Napoli. He is still dominating the passing numbers, but his creativity and attacking input has dwindled somewhat.
Looking at his numbers from Napoli, he could still better his contributions in the final third. A reason for this is his restricted positioning, which has had an impact on his defensive numbers as well.
Now, Sarri’s Chelsea are nowhere near the finished product. And they will evolve as time passes, and so will Jorginho. The Napoli version of him was arguably better, but he could yet match that at Stamford Bridge.