This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Stamford Bridge produced a rather astonishing night of football on Tuesday.
Even Chelsea boss Frank Lampard himself said he wasn’t sure whether he had been involved in a game quite like the one between the Blues and Ajax. With 27 minutes left on the clock, it looked as though it would be a comfortable evening for de Godenzonen as they led 4-1.
However, three goals and two red cards later, the 2012 European champions had levelled things up at 4-4, and had it not been for VAR and Andre Onana, they would have claimed victory.
With the south west London outfit in such a precarious position midway through the second period, big performances were needed. And the former Derby County boss got one from midfielder Jorginho.
The 19-time Italy international was a voice of belief in the centre of the park. There have been some fantastic penalty-takers in SW6 – Lampard himself was pretty handy from the spot – but few have ever looked as calm and confident from 12 yards as the former Napoli regista.
In a cauldron of tension and emotion, the 27-year-old kept his cool to send Yashin Award-nominated Onana the wrong way twice as he bagged himself a brace.
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His performance was so much more than just those two strikes as well. Generally comfortable in possession – he has a Premier League pass accuracy of 88.4% – he found a teammate 91% of the time against Erik ten Hag’s side, which was more than any other player who started the match.
He also managed to create two chances, whilst he also won one aerial duel, no mean feat considering he is just 5 ft 9 in. He also lost possession of the ball just seven times, which other than the goalkeepers was the least of anyone on the field of play.
Now, though, he is one of the key figures in the side. He was recently given the captain’s armband against Manchester United in the League Cup, and this display against Ajax was that of a leader.
Given what he has been through at Stamford Bridge, there is surely no-one better suited to the role. Cesar Azpilicueta has faced criticism this term and was suspect for at least one of the goals on Tuesday – his marking of Quincy Promes was lacklustre – whilst Reece James is breathing down his neck at right-back.
It may be perfect timing to change the skipper, as such.