Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown, Danny Murphy, Alan Shearer and the Sunday Supplement gang have all weighed in on the war against Jorginho.
Essentially, they believe that Kante is being misused in the Sari-ball system.
Furthermore, they don’t really think Jorginho is up to it.
In my humble opinion this feels a little short sighted. And for a few reasons:
Sari-ball can work
Guardiola’s first season at City came with its issues. Everything started off brilliantly (like Chelsea this season), and then they hit a brick wall (like Chelsea this season).
Pep was proven right and then some last season. You have to believe in your principles
If Sari were to abandon his approach now, he may as well quit.
Kante isn’t being used incorrectly
The argument that Kante is being misused is a little off the mark. His first season in the Premier League saw the French midfielder play in a 4-4-2.
Kante not only broke up the play brilliantly, but also drove forward with the ball. Not too dissimilar from his role this season, all-be-it in a different system.
His title winning performance with Chelsea saw him playing alongside Matic or Fabregas as a screening midfielder. A little less box to box than his time with Leicester, but crucially not as the pivot of the midfield.
There’s more than one type of deep lying midfielder
Tifo’s comparison of Busquets and Pirlo beautifully sums up the variety of players you can deploy in this role (see video below).
Interestingly Kante’s qualities aren’t too dissimilar to Pirlo’s team mates at Juventus. Industrious players like Vidal are neither entirely creative nor entirely defensive.
They are deployed to facilitate the qualities of the regista (deep-lying play maker). That’s Jorginho. So Sari’s use of Kante makes sense. It might just take a little more time to click week in week out.
Jorginho doesn’t need to get assists
One of the criticisms being levelled at Jorginho is his lack of assists. But is that really his fault or his job?
If Sari had a Striker that he trusted, Jorginho’s effectiveness would be more apparent. But not because he’d get more assists.
The deep-lying playmakers speciality is the assist before the assist. And that’ll be a hell of a lot easier for him with a few additions and a season for the squad to adjust to the system.
In the reactionary world of punditry this argument will not be popular. Especially when Chelsea lose. But let’s see where we’re at in a year.