Introducing: Chelsea’s midfield enigma, Mateo Kovacic

Introducing: Chelsea’s midfield enigma, Mateo Kovacic

For a player with so much ability, Mateo Kovacic, yet again, put in another underwhelming performance in Chelsea’s recent 1-1 draw versus Wolves.

And the above is a sentiment his manager Maurizio Sarri probably also shared after the Italian withdrew the midfielder early in the second half for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Where, though, does that now leave Kovacic going forward?

The feeling among most Chelsea supporters is that Kovacic should not have started in that draw anyway with Loftus-Cheek performing exceptionally well in his cameo against Dynamo Kyiv and now back to full fitness.

Sarri, however, clearly had other ideas and it is hard to see why. By no means is Kovacic a terrible player. In fact, technically, he might just be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

The way the 24-year-old can take the ball past a player and get out of tight spots with an incredible bit of skill is exquisite.

Yet it is something the Stamford Bridge faithful often only see in glimpses, especially in attack with Kovacic rarely ever using that sort of skill in the final third.

Rather, the Croatia international looks to take less of a risk, playing passes back into midfield, killing momentum in the process.

It is that kind of play in the final third that has contributed to Kovacic’s two-year goalless run and the very reason why the calls for Loftus-Cheek to be given a starting berth are getting louder.

In recent weeks, Sarri has been trying out Kovacic in the regista position with Cesc Fabregas no longer at the club to provide Jorginho cover. There, the Real Madrid loanee could have a future at Stamford Bridge, possessing the attributes needed to fulfil that role.

But as a No.8, things look bleak for the former Inter Milan man with Loftus-Cheek now breathing down his neck.

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