Former Barcelona “lucky charm” Pedro certainly knows what it’s like to play in and with midfields of the highest quality, so he’s probably quite happy to see Chelsea upgrade that area of the team from last season, even if it gives head coach Maurizio Sarri some tough choices to make and leaves a player or two not nearly as happy as they might want to be.
“It’s very difficult for Maurizio to choose the right decision but that’s good for the team, it makes us strong on the pitch. Also it’s good to have options. Ruben is in very good form, also Cesc, Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley, so it’s very good for the team.”
Pedro doesn’t mention N’Golo Kanté, but that’s probably because Kanté’s still irreplaceable, even if he’s not playing in his ideal position. Still, no other player in the squad can quite bring the same (or even similar?) defensive quality and awareness to the team, and with so many other options for passing and creating, Kanté remains indispensable.
For the other two positions, Jorginho remains well ahead of Fàbregas for the regista role, while the other three generally rotate through the third spot, though Loftus-Cheek has been used a couple times as a wing-forward and Kovačić has tried to fill in for Kanté a couple times as well (less effectively, it should be said).
In any case, Sarri seems to be making the right choices at the moment — or have good options to come off the bench when some players underperform like Barkley on Sunday — and Chelsea remain unbeaten on the season.
How long can we keep this up? Who knows. Have to go game-by-game, as always, even if some ambitious goal-setting isn’t completely out of order (a la Vice-captain Azpilicueta this weekend).
“Yes, it was a very good day for us and for all the team. The team worked very hard and I’m very happy to score a goal and get the three points because it’s very important for us to stay near the top and to continue in this way.”
“The team are playing very well, moving the ball with one or two touches, creating chances and winning games. The important thing for us is getting the three points but we just need to take it step by step and game by game.”
-Pedro; source: Chelsea FC
Two more games before the November international break, against BATE in the Europa League and against Everton at home, and then the winter wonderland of wall-to-wall Premier League matches shall begin. But having a strong and deep midfield should give us some confidence in being able to keep pace with the rest of the lead group.