Jorginho: Arsenal’s secret weapon for the title race

Arsenal are once again involved in a Premier League title race, with the Gunners currently third in the table and two points off the top.

Mikel Arteta’s men had been challenging at the top for most of the campaign until a small blip over the Christmas period saw the Gunners drop to as low as fifth place. However the north Londoners have recovered in recent weeks, winning all of their matches in the Premier League since the turn of the New Year.

With the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Declan Rice getting all the arrears from Arsenal supporters and the wider footballing world. While these players are at the forefront of all things good about the Gunners, there’s one player that is helping his side from within the starting eleven. That player is Jorginho.

The ever popular Italian has been a bit-part player for Mikel Arteta since signing from London rivals Chelsea in January 2023, but his impact on this young Arsenal side should not go unnoticed.

Serial winner

Whilst he might not have the trophy cabinet like a lot of his fellow players, Jorginho has been a serial winner since his days in Italy at Hellas Verona, where he won promotion to Serie A with I Gialloblu. Napoli followed for the midfielder, with Gli Azzurri winning the Italian Cup and Super Cup with Jorginho in the side. A move to Chelsea would follow ahead of the 2018/19 season, reuniting the then 27-year-old with former manager Maurizio Sarri.

During the Italian’s sole season in charge of the Blues, they would triumph in the Europa League whilst missing out on Carabao Cup glory on penalties. However it was the proceeding couple of seasons that alerted the world of Jorginho’s class, with a successes in cup competitions, from the Champions League and World Club Cup with Chelsea, to the European Championships with Italy. He was a mainstay in the Chelsea team under Thomas Tuchel, forming a dynamic partnership with N’golo Kante, with his title successes and overall form awarded with the 2021 UEFA Best Player in Europe award.

Changing role at Arsenal

If it were not for a late season meltdown and Manchester City’s monstrous run to the 2022/23 Premier League title, then Jorginho would probably be adding a first league title to his illustrious list of achievements. But that turned out not to be the case, with the Gunners having to accept the runners-up slot. The Italian has not featured as much in the league this campaign, but his impact on side cannot be understated. He started three in five games in the Champions League, with two further substitute appearances after the games had been wrapped up. The one game he did not feature in was the defeat away at RC Lens.

Whilst only starting five matches in the Premier League this season, two of them starts have led to comfortable victories over Liverpool and Manchester City. His attacking output is near enough non-existent, but it is his defensive acumen and leadership that harbours the praises. Mikel Arteta cannot get enough of the Italian, with the Spaniard calling him “unbelievable” and “an example, a role model” after Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Liverpool. It is praise like this that gives the midfielder that untenable position in the Gunners squad.

What next?

Jorginho’s contract at Arsenal is up in the summer, but given how Arteta and the rest of the Gunners squad speak about him, it would be foolish for the Italian not to be offered a new deal. With age on his side, the 32-year-old has already began the next phase of his career, with the midfielder currently completing his coaching badges alongside his playing duties. Along with Aaron Ramsdale, Jorginho has recently been taking training sessions for the U14s, as well as acting as an ‘auxiliary coach’ from the bench during games.

Right now it is eyes on the Premier League and Champions League for the midfielder, with the Italian hoping to help end Arsenal’s 20 year wait for a league trophy. After his man of the match performance against Liverpool and with Thomas Partey’s fitness still a question mark, Jorginho still has plenty to offer the Gunners and football as a whole.

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