How tactical freedom and confidence from no longer being on loan has made Mateo Kovacic an important player for Chelsea again

first_imgThere were huge expectations when Mateo Kovacic joined Chelsea on loan from Real Madrid last summer. The Croatian star had just come off an impressive World Cup showing, helping his nation to the tournament’s final and, with Maurizio Sarri coming in to replace Antonio Conte, it should have been a match made in heaven.Sadly, Kovacic failed to reach his potential under Sarri as he would record just two assists and zero goals from his 32 Premier League appearances.It was nothing short of disappointing and there were doubts when the Blues decided to fork out £45 million to keep him at Stamford Bridge. Of course, it made a lot of sense for a team facing a transfer ban to sign the only player they really could, so it was certainly understandable. But fans could have been forgiven for not having much optimism where the midfielder was concerned.© Tim Goode/PA WireDespite his poor overall output, it was clear that the Blues had a talent on their hands. Often times, fans watching games from home would confuse Kovacic with Eden Hazard as he moved and drove at opposition very similarly to the Belgian. But at times, it appeared that the position he was deployed in just didn’t suit him. Sarri fell out with lots of Blues fans over the very issue. The more defensive-minded N’Golo Kante was shifted to the right side of a three-man midfield, leaving Jorginho to fend for himself in the middle of the park while Kovacic was thrust out to the left.With Kante recovering from an injury all summer, though, the Croatian partnered up with Jorginho in the middle of a 4-2-3-1 and looked rather positive during pre-season and the first few games of the current campaign.His last outing against Norwich saw him shifted to the right side of a 4-3-3, with new boss Frank Lampard opting to revert to last season’s formation to cope with the absence of Kante, who recovered in time to start the season for the Blues but wasn’t fit enough to face the Canaries last weekend.The free role on the right side saw Kovacic put in one of the best performances he’s had since joining Chelsea and he was a key factor as they stole all three points in a 3-2 victory at Carrow Road. The 25-year-old completed six successful take-ons and he proved a menace to the Norwich defence all game. He also showed what he could do defensively and a tackle in the second half that saw the Blues spring off on a counter brought on an effusive applaud from the fans.The midfielder’s ability to pick the ball up and drive at opposition defenses is what fans enjoy most and he’s credited Lampard instilling confidence in him, as well as the feeling of being a permanent player no longer on loan for his revival.A finish in a spot that would have them compete in Europe next season would be satisfactory for most Blues fans, given the circumstances and William Hill has odds of 16/8 on the side ending the 2019/20 season in the Premier League’s top four. Fans who are new to betting could find a full list of online bookmakers sports promotion UK at The Bookies.co.uk.Bet365 is offering 4/9 odds on Chelsea finishing in the top six and if you’re confident Lampard’s influence could see to it that Kovacic is named the PFA Player’s Player of the Year at the end of the season, then Skybet has a sweet 80/1 deal on just that. There’s certainly no expectation on the Croatian winning the Golden Boot but if you reckon there’s a Chelsea player who can, then why not have a go at Tammy Abraham at 50/1 with 888sport? Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebookby Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksRecommended for youAspireAbove.comRemember Pauley Perrette? Try Not To Smile When You See Her NowAspireAbove.comUndoLifestly.com25 Celebs You Didn’t Realize Are Gay – No. 8 Will Surprise WomenLifestly.comUndoUsed Cars | Search AdsUsed Cars in Tuen Mun Might Be Cheaper Than You ThinkUsed Cars | Search AdsUndoTopCars15 Ugliest Cars Ever MadeTopCarsUndoHappyTricks.comHer House Always Smells Amazing – Try her Unique Trick!HappyTricks.comUndoFood World Magazine15 Fruits that Burn Fat Like CrazyFood World MagazineUndoezzin.com20 Breathtaking Places to See Before You Dieezzin.comUndoDrhealth35 Foods That Should Never Be Placed in the RefrigeratorDrhealthUndolast_img