Maurizio Sarri might be the kind of man who enjoys a little caustic humour.
You have to wonder whether the former Chelsea manager has reflected on how the season has unfolded at Stamford Bridge so far this campaign and may have indulged in some sarcastic laughter.
A free flowing, attacking team has developed at SW6 with the team, manager and fans all appearing to be in unison striving towards setting up a bright future.
Sarri, now dealing with the furore around substituting Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, did lead the West Londoners to third in the Premier League last season and brought home a trophy after thrashing Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final.
On the surface that is a successful season which probably warrants some respect for the ex-Napoli boss. However, the relationship between Chelsea supporters and Sarri had deteriorated long before that night in Baku and it was no surprise when he left for Turin in the summer.
The philosophy, or at least the basic portrayal, of ‘Sarriball’ on show at Stamford Bridge last season was despised by the supporters and the atmosphere turned hostile post-Christmas.
One of the main recipients of the fans’ complaints was Sarri’s main signing from his first summer in charge, midfielder Jorginho. The epitome of everything that was wrong with ‘Sarriball’ accordingly to the Chelsea faithful.
A bland presence in the midfield who offered little going forward and little protection defensively, thrusted N’Golo Kante out of his rightful position in front of the back four and did little more than ‘keeping things ticking over’.
Now we sit in November 2019, with Chelsea third in the league under the guidance of a club legend and the mood is in sharp contrast the simmering hate bubbling under the stewardship of Sarri.
And then there’s Jorginho. Things couldn’t be any more different for the Italian as well.
Jorginho vs Armenia:
6 Chances Created.
129 Successful Passes.
9/12 Accurate Long Balls.
5 Duels Won.
10 Recoveries. pic.twitter.com/8ojlNAnp0i
— ً (@CFCBrano) November 18, 2019
The 27-year old has developed into a key cog in Lampard’s midfield, liberated by the fluid set-up and thriving so far in the 2019/20 season. So much so that Chelsea aren’t even missing arguably their best player in Kante, who has been missing through injury for most of the campaign.
The former Napoli midfielder has evolved into the complete midfielder.
There was no doubt over Jorginho’s ability to pass the ball but there was an abundance of doubts over whether he could cope with the physicality of the English game.
It’s interesting to see that he has massively enhanced that side of his game with Jorginho being heavily involved in the game this season, not only managing to deal with the physical battle but thriving in it.
Jorginho has completed 23 interceptions in his 11 appearances, finding himself in the top 10 for completed interceptions in the league.
He has also added a nasty streak to this game, hounding referees and missing Chelsea’s last game against Crystal Palace through suspension due to having received five yellow cards. 108 recoveries is an impressive number and although 27 successful tackles leaving him with a success rate of 67% could be better, it is certainly not bad for a midfielder known more for his creativity.
The Italian is posting better numbers for his attacking output as well, having netted four goals and laid on two assists in his 17 games in all competitions.
You will not see a better pass all season than the one he laid on for Tammy Abraham’s goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Watford recently.
Jorginho is improving and proving to be a pivotal part of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea revolution.
Sarri may let out a sardonic laugh.
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