Mateo Kovacic first joined Chelsea on loan from Real Madrid for the 2018-19 Premier League season. He signed on a permanent deal the next summer and has been a regular in the Chelsea squad. He hasn’t been a regular starter, as Tuchel sometimes preferred a Kante-Jorginho partnership. But with Kante’s problems with injuries, Kovacic has been a crucial player for Chelsea this season. He may be one of the players in contention for a regular starting spot in Thomas Tuchel’s playing 11.
Against Aston Villa, Kovacic put in a great performance as he first assisted Lukaku for the Blues’ first goal and got his second-ever Premier League goal early in the second half. He had a huge impact on the game and has proven to be one of the most creative players in Chelsea’s ranks.
The black line in the above viz is the average for all Premier League midfielders in the particular stat. Most of Kovacic’s stats are on the right side of the black line. He has a goals per 90 minute ratio better than 88% of Premier League midfielders. He has a shot on target percentage greater than 62% of Premier League midfielders. He has impressed in Chelsea’s midfield, with both goals and assists early in the season.
Mateo Kovacic is one of the best passers of the ball in the Premier League. The above visual shows that his stats like assists, xA(expected assists), passes per 90 minutes, smart passes are better than a large majority of Premier League midfielders so far in this season.
The above viz shows the pass receiving locations of Kovacic so far in the league season. He has been playing on the left side of the two in defensive midfield positions and has most touches in accordance with that position. He has not been a completely defensive player, as every attack and every move Chelsea make goes through him. The goal and assist against Aston Villa this weekend has given a hint that this might be one of the best seasons in his career, even though he has already won four Champions League titles(three with Real Madrid, one with Chelsea).
Kovacic has been one of the best passers in the Premier League so far this season. His pass map shows that he has dominated whenever he has been on the pitch for Chelsea this season. All moves Chelsea make go through him, and he is one of the most creative players at Stamford Bridge.
With his passing and attacking prowess, Kovacic has also been impressive in winning duels and making tackles. He completely fulfils the role of a defensive midfielder for Chelsea and makes a strong case to be a regular starter for Thomas Tuchel.
He was arguably the man of the match for Chelsea against Villa with a goal and an assist, even though Lukaku scored two goals. The Blues’ fans will be hoping to see more of this over the course of this Premier League season.