Arsenal and Mikel Arteta offer Jorginho love he never felt after Sarriball struggles at Chelsea

Will Ford
Arsenal celebrate

Jorginho was forever tarred with the Maurizio Sarri brush at Chelsea. What a difference at Arsenal, whose fans love him already and where he’s further proof of Arteta’s genius.

You may have seen the video on social media – Jorginho applauding, directing and kicking every ball as he warms up on the touchline for Arsenal in their dramatic win over Bournemouth. While basking in the victory, it was a clip to make fans fall deeply and irreversibly in love with a player who never felt such adoration at Chelsea. What a guy, what a leader, what a legend.

Two days later and a video showing Jorginho poking fun at Gabriel Jesus having a driving lesson grabbed headlines. It wasn’t as significant as the first, but certainly adds to what is a very positive all-round view of the midfielder among Arsenal fans. Not only is he an excellent addition to the squad, he’s also a bit like us. Who could see a mate in a driving lesson and not take gently take the p*ss out of them? Impossible, right?

His January move from Chelsea was seen as a good one for all parties. Arsenal added much-needed experience and quality for their title push. Chelsea got a few bob for a player who would leave for nothing in six months and wouldn’t play all that much in the meantime. Jorginho was handed a very real chance of winning the Premier League.

He never got close at Chelsea, and certainly at the start of his time at Stamford Bridge, was seen to be holding them back. This isn’t meant as a slight against the Blues or their fans. As much as they deserve stick for their treatment of Mason Mount and Graham Potter, they don’t for Jorginho. It was hard to warm to him, and in the same circumstances, Arsenal fans would likely have reacted in much the same way.

Drunk on success, and a certain way of achieving it, Chelsea fans weren’t ready for the sea of change brought about by Maurizio Sarri and the metronomic midfielder that came with him from Napoli. It was slow, contemplative, often boring football, and Jorginho was the on-pitch embodiment of Sarri’s unsuited style. And he never quite managed to shake that association, despite the vast majority of his 213 Chelsea appearances coming after his countryman was sacked.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho during a match

At no point in those early games for Chelsea did Jorginho smash 25-yard shots at crucial moments, as he did for Arsenal against Aston Villa. But much of the other work he’s doing for Arsenal he was doing for Chelsea: keeping the ball moving; passing through the press; playing through balls in behind opposition defences.

The show of leadership on the touchline has also been reported as ‘something he never did at Chelsea’, but not being videoed doing something doesn’t mean he didn’t, and more often than not, in the big games in which Jorginho may have done similar, he was invariably on the pitch for Chelsea; he was one of their leaders just as much as he is now one of Arsenal’s.

Also, Arsenal fans may not be best placed to report on what Jorginho was doing on the touchline for Chelsea, seeing as they’re Arsenal fans, not Chelsea fans.

The warming of the supporters to Jorginho is far more about circumstance and framing than his actual contributions. He’s not moved to Arsenal and immediately become a better player and teammate.

He looks like a better player because this Arsenal side is playing better than Chelsea had in the Premier League at any point in his time in west London. The only comparable run of games was in the Champions League in 2021, which (along with his role in Italy’s Euro 2020 win) led him to come third in the Ballon d’Or.

His transfer to Arsenal is another feather in the increasingly well-adorned cap of Mikel Arteta. The guy who was as much of a stick to beat Sarri with as vice versa is now further evidence of Arteta’s genius, and will be seen as an important part of a title-challenging team, whether he does his conducting on the pitch or off it.

The reach and enjoyment of the touchline and Jesus-joshing videos is greater because of the success of the team he’s now playing for, and serves to increase his value to the Arsenal fans, for whom he’s had to do little to build more love in weeks than he felt in years at Chelsea.