Lampard has a decision to make about the midfield selection for the Manchester City match, now that Jorginho is available after suspension.
Considering N’Golo Kante’s brilliant performance in the holding midfield role in their previous game against Aston Villa, would Jorginho’s return to the base of the midfield three be a wise decision?
Let’s have a look at the last encounter between the two sides in the reverse fixture back in November.
Manchester City won, but Chelsea dominated the possession
Manchester City completed a 2-1 comeback victory despite Kante’s opener in the first half.
Unlike most teams who face Pep Guardiola’s team, Lampard took an interesting approach by sticking with the possession-based football which saw Guardiola’s side having just 46.47% possession.
It was the lowest recorded by a team managed by Guardiola at that point.
Lampard’s plan worked, but it also exposed them to counter-attacks, especially against the pace of Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero.
Jorginho faced four attempts of dribbles in that game and City players ran past him three times (FBref).
It was the joint-worst alongside Christian Pulisic (also three), with both Mateo Kovacic and Emerson Palmieri (each two) also having a hard time.
Kante faced two dribble attempts by City players and stopped both, for comparison.
Will Lampard risk a similar approach?
However, it is also worth noting that Jorginho’s capability to receive the ball in the defensive third was vital to Chelsea’s possession.
He received 71 passes throughout the game and had a 100% success rate in receiving it, although Kovacic also played a similar role in that game, receiving 89 passes (out of 92).
A double pivot of Kante and Kovacic could be an option with Mason Mount playing the more advanced role of the three.
However, if Lampard prefers possession football, Jorginho would likely play the lone holding midfield role once again.
Billy Gilmour who starred for Chelsea in their last couple of games before the break could offer safer, one-touch passes, although if Lampard did not play him in the last game, he’d unlikely play in this one.