Three minutes before the conclusion of an insipid first half at St James’ Park yesterday evening, Jorginho played a defence-splitting pass into the path of N’Golo Kante. In one swift move, the Italian had broken Newcastle’s defensive wall and his team-mate was given a rare, clear sight at goal.
It looked simple but mightily effective and although Kante’s attempt was saved by Martin Dubravka, the Newcastle goalkeeper, it seemed then that if Jorginho could produce more of the same after the interval Chelsea would finally find a way to crack an opponent willing to sit deep, remain compact and be satisfied with rare forays forward.
Except Jorginho did not repeat that trick in the second half and it was clear as the game progressed, concluding with a cruel but unsurprising sucker punch from Isaac Hayden deep in added time, that frustration levels were peaking on the touchline.
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While Frank Lampard buried his head in his hands when Willian shot tamely wide after being played in by Mason Mount, more telling were the increasingly urgent gestures for Jorginho to speed play up when the ball was it his feet.
By full-time he had attempted 114 passes, 23 more than his other two starting midfielders combined, but only seven of those were into the Newcastle penalty area.
And while many, including Lampard, have justifiably pointed to a lack of contributions from attacking areas – namely the wingers – as the reason for Chelsea’s increasingly troubling run of defeats to teams that they should be beating on paper, the side really needs more from the man at the base of his midfield in these type of games.
So much about Jorginho’s play this season has been positive. Lampard has regularly spoken about his leadership qualities and his ability to keep control in games against sides who look to play more expansively means he is a…