Transformation: Sarri scapegoat blossoming into a vital lynchpin under Lampard – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

All of a sudden, everything looks brighter for Frank Lampard and Chelsea.

That is what a first home league win of the season and a first clean sheet can do for you. Against Brighton, the Blues were by far the better team, having nine shots on target to their opponents’ one, and it was perhaps their most professional performance of the season to date.

Plenty of the narrative surrounding the Stamford Bridge outfit this season has been directed at the club’s youngsters, and rightly so. However, we must not forget the influence of some of the older heads in the side, including Jorginho.

The Italy international was something of a scapegoat under Maurizio Sarri last term, but he has turned it around and is now looking like one of Lampard’s most trusted players. Against the Seagulls, he controlled the game from the middle of the park.

Of course, he got himself on the scoresheet via the penalty spot – he now has a record of 14 in 15 from 12 yards – which earned him the headlines, but his performance was so much more than that. In the past, he has been criticised for not being creative enough going forward, but there was no such issue in that regard on Saturday. He created three chances for his teammates, which only Mason Mount could match for the south-west London team.

His display was almost flawless in possession. He had just one unsuccessful touch, and was not caught out when on the ball at all. He also managed to win three free-kicks for his side, which was more than any other player.

His defensive qualities are an underrated aspect to his game, but he was on impressive form again at the weekend. He won two tackles, and also managed a game-high four interceptions.

After a difficult period last year, the 27-year-old is beginning to show exactly why Chelsea parted with more than £57m fee to acquire his services. There has been talk of him being a potential club captain in the future. Performances like this will do his cause no harm.

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