When Tottenham Hotspur ran riot against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday, the centreback pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz, who have been largely untested this season despite the Blues’ 18-match unbeaten run prior to the match, were torn to pieces by the swashbuckling front three of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min.
Spurs’ devastating trio not only showed their offensive qualities but also their defensive astuteness as well, especially Alli, who rendered Jorginho ineffective via a tight man-marking job in the middle of the park. While the Italian international plays an extremely vital role as the pivot in Sarri’s offensive phase, Jorginho does not have the necessary defensive qualities to sufficiently provide cover for the Chelsea back four.
This was the point that television pundit Alan Shearer has stressed after the game at Wembley, with the ex-England international saying that N’Golo Kante should have been stationed in front of the back four. Kante, who played an important role in Leicester’s and Chelsea’s title-winning seasons playing as a defensive midfielder, has been shifted to an unfamiliar position at the right side of a midfield three this season under Maurizio Sarri.
Now playing in advanced areas of the pitch, the French international, who has recently signed a new deal with the west London club, has been utilised in a more offensive role – a decision that Shearer says puzzles him, adding that the midfielder’s best position would be further behind in front of the back four, where, on a defensive point of view, Kante is a level above Jorginho.
“Why Maurizio Sarri is not playing N’Golo Kante in front of his back four baffles me. Without the little French dynamo in that hole, tidying up, tracking runners, it leaves the Chelsea central defenders David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger massively exposed — as Spurs showed to such devastating effect on Saturday night,” said the ex-England international.
“Leicester City won the league with Wes Morgan and Robert Huth as their centre-half pairing. Decent defenders but neither are particularly quick. But their deficiencies were expertly covered up by Kante — the best defensive midfielder in the world bar none. Jorginho is not in the same class.
“Kante is wasted playing where he did against Spurs, higher up the park and to the right. He is not an attacking midfielder. I know Sarri worked with Jorginho at Napoli and trusts him in that holding position but he had a poor night at Wembley.”