Football Player Profiles Premier League

Mateo Kovacic: Chelsea and Croatian midfielder showing his quality this season

Mateo Kovacic

Mateo Kovacic has been in and out of the Chelsea lineup. Lampard’s indecision, combined with a plethora of midfield talent, often led the Croatian international sat on the bench. When he does play, he is quality. So why does Lampard leave him out?

After dropping points at Southampton, Brighton and Newcastle, it looks like Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have finally hit their stride. A subject loss to a highly-motivated Manchester United team may skew recent form, but Chelsea’s win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday proved that they really can solidify themselves as a top four side this season.

Kovacic’s initial loan was a success. He went on to sign a five-year contract in July 2019, a real sign of intent from both Chelsea and the Croat. At 25-years-old he was free from the Real Madrid move and could really kick on. It may be fair to say that he has. Exquisite Champions League performances and tidy in the league when called upon, Kovacic has cemented his place in the hearts of the Stamford Bridge faithful. However, could there be problems that stop Kovacic from continuously appearing in all forms of competitions?

Mateo Kovacic – A Style Clash?

When Frank Lampard arrived back at the club he spent over a decade with, you could see that he was keen to establish an identity. This quickly became about unity and systems, and the idea that the ball should move along the floor quickly.

Kovacic can more than comply to this style of play, especially in the final third with quick one-twos, but from deeper positions is where it may become an issue. Kovacic enjoys breaking the press with timed dribbles; something that could become an issue against aggressive opponents. Perhaps Lampard is not a fan of Mateo’s approach, preferring a structured build up pattern. But is it really that big of an issue?

Mateo Kovacic leads the league in dribble success, with a 75.7% success rate (53/70). Whilst not attempting as many dribbles as say Adama Traore, Kovacic’s ability on the ball is not to be understated. Alongside a 90% pass completion across all competitions, he is a tidy option in midfield. A lack of goal contributions is not really an issue as he operates from a deeper role, and his defensive productivity has improved. Mateo Kovacic has began to really apply himself in the Premier League, putting in much better performances as he adapts to the renowned pace. It will also be interesting to see how he does in the Champions League, where the stakes are so high. We believe in Mateo Kovacic. You should too.

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