With the signing of Mateo Kovacic around the corner, there look to be five Chelsea central midfielders fighting for three places in the centre of the pitch. Jorginho, N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ross Barkley and Kovacic will look to battle, and it can only push Chelsea on to bigger and better things next season.
The central midfield battle will be crucial for Chelsea, as the competitions for places can push each other to improve their inconsistent form from last season. Lampard was known for his formation of 4-3-3 meaning three of the five men will get the chance to impress the 41-year-old.
However, with N’golo Kante probably guaranteed one position due to his sensational form over the last four years in a midfield role, that leaves two position among just four Chelsea players. Jorginho remains the stand-out player for Chelsea on the ball, as he led the team in most passes made last season and in most average passes made during a game in the Premier League. And with Frank Lampard insistent on playing a possession-based style of football, you’d imagine he’d use Jorginho, who statistically is the best passer of the ball in Chelsea’s midfield.
That leaves just Kovacic, Barkley and Bakayoko battling for a single place in Chelsea’s side. Eventually, it will come down to the formation Lampard chooses in a game. As shown in Derby’s formation in the semi-final second leg of the Championship playoffs, Lampard could opt for a more creative midfielder, which means Barkley would get the nod, due to his greater goal involvements over Bakayoko and Kovacic last season.
However, in the final of the Championship playoffs, Lampard opted to go for a more reserved formation of 4-3-1-2, with three deep-lying central midfielders. This would mean Barkley would be left out due to the better defensive traits of Kovacic and Bakayoko. That leaves Bakayoko and Kovacic to battle it out for one spot in midfield, and with similar statistics last season, it will be an interesting choice from Lampard.
Whatever happens next season, the competition for places in central midfield is going to be interesting. With Jorginho and Kante looking likely to start, Barkley, Bakayoko and Kovacic know that they will be competing against each other all season long next year, and it can only benefit Chelsea.