Mateo Kovacic has been one of the standout players at Stamford Bridge so far this season, but even his position in the starting XI is still under pressure. 

Kovacic, who cost the Blues £40million, has started in nine of the team’s opening 11 games across all competitions this campaign. 

The 27-year-old midfielder has looked at his fluent best in the centre of the park. For instance, he’s taking possession comfortably anywhere on the pitch and contributing in an attacking sense, too.

He’s the joint-top assister at the start of the season with three, along with Blues teammates Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta.

The Croatia international has a knack of gliding past opponents with his nonchalant dribbling and he’s a great way to beat a team’s press.

Chelsea v Aston Villa - Premier League
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Kovacic will always be under pressure

Chelsea have the kind of squad which means all players will be kept on their toes. 

Kovacic is thriving right now as the key central midfielder and is clearly in favour with the club’s manager Thomas Tuchel.

However, he’s going to have to remain at this standard to keep in the starting line-up in more games than not. 

 

N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are obviously his two biggest rivals to start, albeit the manager has shown he’s prepared to play all three in certain games. Tuchel recently described the trio as “fantastic”.

In addition, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley have shown signs of revival in recent weeks to try push for more minutes in midfield. Finally, loan signing Saul Niguez is still waiting to really show what he can do at Stamford Bridge. 

Kovacic should be over the moon with how the last couple of months has gone for him, but the in-form midfielder has to push on.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League
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Kovacic already matched one personal Chelsea record

For Kovacic, he’s now on par for most assists he’s recorded in a single Chelsea season.

He’ll know that for a player of his ability he should be able to boost those numbers significantly and he’s off to the perfect start this time around.

The midfielder has much more of a chance to nail down a starting XI role if he can continue to rack up assists and create opportunities for teammates. 

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