Say what you want about Jorginho’s maiden campaign in English football, the Italian gave his all for Chelsea.
The 27-year-old completed more passes (2782) and had more touches of the ball (3551) than any other player in the Premier League, starting 37 of Chelsea’s 38 games in the English top flight during the 2018/19 season.
His position at the base of Maurizio Sarri’s midfield allowed the ex-Napoli boss to unleash N’Golo Kante into a box-to-box role, with his relentless energy and work rate providing real thrust for Chelsea at both ends of the pitch.
However – and despite the calls for Kante to be pushed back into a holding role – it may come as quite the surprise that Jorginho outran not only his French counterpart, but every single one of his teammates, clocking an incredible 418.8km throughout the Premier League season. If you could showcase the demands Sarri places upon his players in a nutshell, you would do it with these numbers.
But is Jorginho the hardest runner in the Premier League? At Squawka, we’ve crunched the numbers and found the top three players in terms of distance covered in the Premier League during 2018/19 to see who really is touching every blade of grass.
Distance covered: 418.8km
As we mentioned, Jorginho covered more ground than any other Chelsea player in the Premier League during the 2018/19 season and in fact, is third overall in the English top flight.
Sarri’s intense style of play not only requires ridiculous skills on the ball but also ultimate commitment off it, with aggressive pressing and tough tackling the order of the day.
Jorginho can often be seen racing from his deep-lying position to go hunting for the ball and although this can often lead to Chelsea’s defence being exposed – as was exploited by Manchester City in the Community Shield – the Italian’s propensity to lead the press can often help the Blues win the ball back in dangerous areas. That, of course, is what helped unlock Eden Hazard’s physics-defying abilities time and time again at Stamford Bridge.
2. Jack Cork
Distance covered: 445.6km
What? Sean Dyche’s Burnley players run a lot? Never!
All jokes aside, the sheer level of effort put in by the Clarets last season was a true sight to behold, especially given their European commitments earlier in the campaign. Their 15th-placed finish in the Premier League is skewered by a difficult start and shouldn’t take away any admiration for Dyche’s low block.
Of course, playing in a low block requires spending a lot of time without possession. Without a ball to do the work, the players must pick up the slack. Topping Burnley’s list of runners during the 2018/19 Premier League season and coming second in the division as a whole is Jack Cork.
Cork started 37 of Burnley’s 38 Premier League games in 2018/19 and his ridiculous running distance of 445.6km across the season is the perfect symbolisation of what Dyche expects from his players. Burnley made more blocks (211) than any other Premier League team last season. This simply isn’t possible without players like Cork plugging gaps left, right and centre.
1. Luka Milivojevic
Distance covered: 447.1km
More known for his penalties, of which he took 11 and scored 10 during the course of 2018/19 (fantasy team dream, right?) some may be shocked to know that Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic tops the Premier League running charts, covering a ridiculous 447.1km last season.
The Serbia international started all 38 of the Eagles’ Premier League games, helping them to a nice, cosy 12th-placed finish. His never-ending running for the cause helped Milivojevic make 73 interceptions and 89 tackles in the Premier League last season, sitting only behind Aaron Wan-Bissaka among Palace players in both regards, with the right-back notching up numbers of 84 and 129, respectively.
A fine display of leading by example from the Palace captain, one which Roy Hodgson will be hoping he can repeat next season as the Eagles eye up a top-half finish.
Watch the video at the top of the article to see more of our unique end-of-season Premier League stats – powered by Opta.
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