Carabao Cup final – Jorginho in focus

Jorginho is a key disciple of Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri and is integral to the Italian’s footballing philosophy.

Here, Football Paradise looks at how the Italy playmaker fared in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final penalty shootout loss to Manchester City.

On-field general

Maurizio Sarri
Jorginho is key to Maurizio Sarri’s possession-based system (Nigel French/PA)

Jorginho followed Sarri from Napoli to Stamford Bridge and is an imperative figure in the 60-year-old’s 4-3-3, possession-based system which has earned the nickname ‘Sarri-ball’. Jorginho has not been immune from Sarri’s criticism this season, but he was always going to start here. He cajoled his team-mates to keep their shape, as usual, directing the defence and even instructing goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga where to distribute the ball.

Sarri scapegoat

Jorginho was booed by Chelsea supporters when introduced in Thursday’s win over Malmo (Adam Davy/PA)

Jorginho was booed by Chelsea fans when coming on as a substitute in last Thursday’s Europa League win over Malmo. He is clearly seen as the personification of Sarri-ball and is therefore the scapegoat. He tried to endear himself to the Blues faithful quickly here, fouling Sergio Aguero in the opening seconds by blocking the striker. Blues fans called on Jorginho to shoot from 25 yards twice after 32 minutes, but both times he took the option to pass. The crowd calls were more a frustration at Chelsea’s lack of incision than encouragement of Jorginho, who shot wide in the first half of extra time. Jorginho took Chelsea’s first penalty and his poor effort was saved by Ederson. David Luiz also missed in the 4-3 shootout defeat.

Kante conundrum unanswered

N'Golo Kante
N’Golo Kante continues to be deployed out of position by Maurizio Sarri to accommodate Jorginho (Nick Potts/PA)

Jorginho has made more than 2,200 passes in the Premier League without registering an assist. He has one goal this season, in the Premier League win at Huddersfield on the opening day – and that was a penalty. By half-time here, Jorginho had made just 20 passes here, a fifth of his regular output when Chelsea dominate possession. He made just 36 more in the remaining 75 minutes. Given N’Golo Kante is the world’s best defensive midfielder – proved by a recent trophy haul which includes last summer’s World Cup – the obvious solution appears to be a 4-2-3-1 formation. But Sarri will not try it.

Overall impact

Jorginho made a limited impact in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final (Martin Rickett/PA)

Limited. Jorginho has shone against lesser opponents. Against a team of City’s calibre he does not have the time or space to dictate play. He still is capable of telling contributions, but the main requirement on Sunday was defensive. Sarri’s stubborn resistance to change means it was Jorginho, not Kante, in front of a fragile defence. And in attack Chelsea’s best chances were a result of speedy transitions, so bypassed Jorginho. He was booked after 88 minutes for a blatant obstruction of Raheem Sterling, saved the fate of a dismissal by the distance from goal. A desperately poor penalty meant his contribution was more significant.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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