There is a real feeling that Arsenal has officially missed out on a chance to be crowned Premier League champions this season after a recent run of poor form has consigned the club to its new position as a chaser rather than a pace-setter.
A number of disappointing performances against Liverpool, West Ham United, and Southampton saw the Gunners only manage three points from a possible nine coming into a pivotal meeting with Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola’s holding champions running rampant in a 4-1 drubbing against Mikel Arteta’s outfit that left millions of supporters deflated.
Many called for changes to the XI to target weaknesses in midfield and in the back four, which eventually, the popular Spanish headmaster instituted against Chelsea and then again during their recent clash with Newcastle United.
The Gunners got back on track in both performances, securing a 3-1 win at the Emirates against the Blues and a hard-fought 2-0 win on Tyneside against Eddie Howe’s high-flying Magpies. In both performances, veteran Italian midfielder Jorginho was a key catalyst in aiding the return to winning ways. For many, including former Gunners star Paul Merson, his inclusion should have happened far sooner than it did while the former Chelsea midfielder is viewed by many as undroppable for the remainder of the season.
When speaking on Sky Sports, the football pundit weighed in on Jorginho’s simplicity and how his command and control is vital to how the club can perform in the final few weekends if they are to have a chance at outstripping City.
I think Mikel Arteta will have learned lessons from this last month. Looking back, Jorginho should have started against Southampton. It was a game Arsenal simply had to win, not by seven or eight goals, just win. I know hindsight is crystal clear, but Jorginho was brought in for a reason, and I think he would have helped keep things tight, ensured Southampton didn’t score, and then created chances.
I was shocked Fabio Vieira, who has not had a great season, played ahead of Jorginho, and Arsenal went on to draw the game. Jorginho manages the game. People say he cannot run, but you don’t have to run, his brain is quick. You’re better off having a quick brain than quick legs.
You know what the best skill in football is? It isn’t stepovers or flicks, funnily enough, it’s finding your teammates with the ball. It’s an unbelievable skill that often goes under the radar.
Everyone wants to see players beating seven defenders and scoring amazing solo goals, but the best skill is passing the ball successfully. Don’t talk to me about ballers! It’s about keeping the ball, looking after the ball, passing, and moving.
Jorginho was man-of-the-match at Newcastle because he did just that. What he did won’t be on social media, kids won’t be watching that, and there won’t be clips, because what he does goes under the radar.
For me, Jorginho has to play for Arsenal. They have got the ammunition up front, we have seen that Martinelli and Saka have delivered, whereas Jorginho brings balance
It remains to be seen whether or not Arteta will continue to call upon the Italian across the final three fixtures, but if there is any truth in the old adage that you don’t change a good thing, it is fair to suggest that Jorginho will be right back in the heart of the engine room come the weekend.