Are Kante, Kovavic and Jorginho the Premier League’s best midfield?
Richard Marsh | 16 August 2018
Sarri’s new signings could thrive
After a comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield, Chelsea will look to keep their momentum going this weekend when they host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are 4/5 favourites to make it two wins from two on Saturday, in a game which should also see the debut of Mateo Kovacic.
The Croatian has arrived on-loan from Real Madrid and will slot in alongside Jorginho and N’Golo Kante to form a potentially wondrous midfield trio.
New boss Maurizio Sarri places keen emphasis on a high-quality midfield in order for his 4-3-3 formation to be successful.
And there’s an argument that he might now be in charge of the best midfield triumvirate in the game.
The treasured trio
In Kante, Chelsea boast the man widely acknowledged to be the best defensive midfielder around.
His tenacious work ethic, hustling ball-winning talent and ability to be in exactly the right place at the right time is uncanny.
And Kante’s ability to sit and protect will allow Jorginho and Kovacic to thrive on the ball.
Jorginho turned down Pep Guardiola and Manchester City to follow Sarri to Chelsea. The Italy international knows Sarri’s high-pressing possession-based game inside out from their time together at Napoli.
And in Kovacic, Sarri can call upon a man described by former Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni as a cross between Kaka and Clarence Seedorf.
Kovacic loves to burst forward with the ball. Equally, he can sit deep and pick out passes too. The 24-year-old’s tactical flexibility will also be an asset in the season ahead. He and Jorginho can be the perfect pivot.
Put the three together and Chelsea have all the qualities required for a successful midfield in the modern game.
Can anyone match them?
Man City fans will certainly have their say on the topic. The Citizens’ trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho and David Silva swept the Premier League aside last season.
Granted, De Bruyne and Silva would get into any team, but Fernandinho is 33-years-old now, and Kante probably gets the nod there.
Over at Anfield and Liverpool are worthy of a mention too. Jurgen Klopp can call upon any three of the highly-rated Naby Keita, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and James Milner.
But while the Reds can claim great strength in depth, how many of those would oust Kante,Kovavic or Jorginho at Stamford Bridge?
Manchester United aren’t short on midfield quality either. Paul Pogba is one of the best in the game, with Jose Mourinho also able to call upon Ander Herera, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.
But it may take time
Jorginho looked right at home in Chelsea’s win over Huddersfield, but Kovacic’s run to the World Cup Final with Croatia means he isn’t quite up to speed.
Ross Barkley filled in last weekend. The Englishman should come on leaps and bounds under Sarri this term, but if Kovacic is fit, he’ll start against the Gunners.
It might take time for this new midfield three to gel, but when it does, it should be spectacularly successful.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing