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Talking Tactics

Restricting Jorginho can bring Ranieri joy

Adrian Clarke 1 Dec 2018
Jorginho, Chelsea

Adrian Clarke looks at how Fulham can learn from Spurs by nullifying the threat of Jorginho at Chelsea on Sunday

Adrian Clarke looks at the key tactical battles in Matchweek 14.

Chelsea v Fulham

Setting up a plan to cancel out Chelsea’s deep-lying playmaker Jorginho worked well for Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, so will Fulham’s Claudio Ranieri follow suit in Sunday’s west London derby?

The astute Ranieri will surely have noticed the way the tactic against Jorginho proved so effective.

Everton and Spurs success

Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson were asked by Everton manager Marco Silva to pressure the Italian to stop him dictating play from deep, a strategy that was vindicated when Jorginho was substituted on 64 minutes at Stamford Bridge.

Last weekend Dele Alli practically man-marked Jorginho, preventing him from receiving the ball without pressure.

Subsequently, over 90 minutes the influential Chelsea midfielder made just 51 passes, his lowest tally of the campaign.

Jorginho was unable to play any forward passes of note through the lines down the centre of the pitch.

If Fulham can replicate this, it will frustrate Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud, who all like to receive the ball in those areas.

Impact of pressing Jorginho
Jorginho Passes Passes into final third
MW1-11 average 103 13
v Everton 50 5
v Spurs 51 6
Who gets the job?

From a defensive standpoint the No 10 role within Ranieri’s 4-2-3-1 will be of vital importance against Chelsea.

Ranieri selected Tom Cairney in that position for his first match, but the midfielder is perhaps not the most natural fit if the manager is looking for somebody to shut down Jorginho’s space.

Cairney has won just two tackles this season, and is not known for his combativeness.

Schurrle or Seri switch

Two options would be shifting the hard-working Andre Schurrle inside to play behind the striker, or pushing Jean Michael Seri into a more advanced role.

Both are full of industry and willing to make challenges and Fulham would not miss too much creativity on the ball either.

If one of these two gets the task and they are helped by Aleksandar Mitrovic dropping in to squeeze Jorginho’s space, Fulham can replicate the success Chelsea’s last two opponents enjoyed.

Fulham’s best duel winners
Most tackles won Most duels won
Seri 19 Mitrovic 98
Le Marchand 18 Le Marchand 61
Schurrle 10 Odoi 49
Anguissa 10 Schurrle 48
Odoi 9 Seri 47
How do Chelsea combat this tactic?

Maurizio Sarri has stated he does not want to move away from a 4-3-3 or use someone who is not a technical playmaker in the centre of his midfield.

That would appear to rule out a switch to 4-2-3-1 with N'Golo Kante joining Jorginho in deeper areas.

But do not be surprised if the Frenchman plays far closer to Jorginho on Sunday.

If the Italian is marked closely, Kante will need to show for the ball instead, dragging a marker with him. This could partially alleviate the issue.

Kante screen

Without the ball I also sense Kante will tuck inside more often to ensure Chelsea have the defensive solidity they boasted when he was in the sitting-midfielder role.

Losing him as a screen in front of the back four has made the team more vulnerable.

From a tactical perspective it will be fascinating to see what choices both managers make.

If Fulham can stop Jorginho dominating, their prospects of only a second Premier League win over Chelsea are enhanced.

Also in this series

Part 1: Armstrong key to sparking revival against Man Utd
Part 2: Silva's Everton will offer Liverpool a new challenge
Part 3: Sissoko can block Arsenal's favoured route to goal

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