Chelsea are set to start the 2020/2021 season with an array of midfielders at their disposal. New comings of Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz will bolster the midfield area as Chelsea look to reach the heights of English football once again.
The middle of the park included many options last campaign, despite serving a transfer ban. Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Ross Barkley and Matteo Kovacic were regular faces in that position last season. The latter won player of the year this week, the Croatian’s impact was applaudable to say the least.
Billy Gilmour announced himself in March. After making his debut in a poor 2-2 draw with Sheffield United in August, he really announced himself on the biggest stage after the two performances against the Merseyside clubs. Despite being one of the eldest Cobham academy graduates, Ruben Loftus-Cheek saw regular first team action after lockdown once he recovered from an Achilles injury.
With the additions of Ziyech and Kai Havertz, very soon, Frank Lampard could be faced with a selection dilemma with nine players who can occupy similar roles in the side. One of the biggest questions is the formation. Chelsea switched between a back three and a back four last time out, but this was due to personnel.
With defensive additions added to the armoury, three in midfield could be the opted system to lead the club from Fulham Road back to the glory days.
Who plays out wide? How do you accommodate Ziyech and Havertz? Does this disrupt the progress of Mount? There are many questions that fans would love to ask the gaffer. I included.
We have seen that Lampard picks players off current form, how they perform at Cobham whilst training. Despite this dominating factor assisting in picking the team sheet, there are faces that are more likely to start than others.
A fully fit Kante gets into any side in the Premier League. His injuries meant he missed a chunk of last season; this is something in which the French World Cup winner will look to amend next season. Jorginho is not fancied by Lampard, the proof was post lockdown. His first appearance came against Crystal Palace once football resumed. Four games after the first fixture back at Villa Park. He then played in every game until the end of the season.
Why is this significant? Kante missed the Palace game until the season’s conclusion. Was this simply a case of the Italian number five filling a hole left by his counterpart?
Kovacic will play one side of Kante. Earning the player of the season shown his contribution throughout 19/20. His £40million price tag was frowned upon once his loan move was made permanent in the summer of 2019. No one is complaining now.
He is excellent at picking the ball up from deep and carrying it forward. This could be key for the system. He glides across the surface, the ability to dribble with the ball catches the eye. The former Real Madrid man is one of the most accomplished players in the squad with his three Champions League medals.
The two former players in this midfield do not have a reputation of scoring many goals. It is not their game. This means the third man in this trio must have the particular trait.
Mount is a Chelsea scholar; he has been at the club since he was a young boy. In addition to this, Lampard utilises the number 19 due to his energetic, pressing style. He played 53 games in his breakthrough Premier League season, scoring eight and assisting six. The 21-year-old adds more energy to the side, he can make things tick in and around the final third with his two-touch passing and the pockets he finds in the opposing defence.
He has divided opinion at times, but he is forever improving. He had a superb ending to the season after scoring in the FA Cup semi-final and setting Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 win against Wolves with a delicious free kick.
The Galactico’s, Ziyech and Havertz, are more suited to forward roles. They can play deeper in midfield, but their ability to supply goals are insanely good. Combined, they netted 26 goals and chipped in with 30 assists last season. Werner will be drooling at this stat; the German will be looking to increase his goal tally of 34 last season.
The former two players could be pivotal in the striker achieving this. Their first chance of linking up will come on September 14, a Monday night. Chelsea kick-off their topflight campaign away at Brighton and Hove Albion.