Chelsea will be the team to watch this season.
Maurizio Sarri believes in the all-conquering power of possession-based football.
The Italian gaffer likes to suppress his nicotine addiction by watching his team pass opponents to death.
A bit like this…
Sarri will be hoping to implement a similar style at Stamford Bridge.
While the manager will drill his troops on the training ground, the application of the theory is ultimately down to the players.
And in this regard, Jorginho will lead the way.
The Brazilian-born Italian international was the heartbeat on Sarri’s Napoli, racking up incredible passing stats to ensure continuous circulation, rarely taking more than two touches at a time.
Incredibly, the 26-year-old holds nine of the top ten spots for most successful passes in a Serie A fixture…
- Jorginho (v Verona) 182
- Jorginho (v Cagliari) 181
- Jorginho (v Benevento) 160
- Jorginho (v Udinese) 153
- Jorginho (v Lazio) 152
- Jorginho (v Palermo) 151
- Jorginho (v Crotone) 148
- Jorginho (v Crotone) 147
- Jorginho ( Palermo) 143
- Kalidou Koulibaly (v Inter) 142
CREDIT: OPTA (stats recorded since 2004/05)
Last season, Ilkay Gundogan set a new Premier League for most completed passes in a Premier League game with 167 against Chelsea.
Jorginho has twice bettered that tally in Serie A — against Verona in 2015 and against Cagliari in 2017.
The diminutive regista has completed over 150 passes in a Serie A fixture six times in his career.
Despite missing five games, no player completed more passes than Jorginho in Serie A last season (2,860).
He attempted 3,197 passes in total, giving him a pass completion rate of 90%.
Jorginho made his debut for Chelsea in a friendly against Perth Glory in Western Australia on Monday.
He completed 98 passes in 45 minutes.
The plan is clear — Jorginho will be the metronome and the others must play to his tempo.
Sarri prefers a 4-3-3 formation and if he can identify the right player to play alongside Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in midfield then the Blues will be a formidable outfit.
Sarri has Cesc Fabgrgas, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater as existing options but may yet persuade Roman Abramovich that Aleksandr Golovin is a necessity for the season ahead.
The Premier League’s passing records are under threat.
Keep count… if you can.