Mateo Kovačić is FINALLY back in action after dealing with a hamstring injury and COVID-19 that kept him sidelined for almost two months. Before sustaining his injury, Kovačić had the second most assists in the Premier League and was a huge reason why Chelsea sat in first place in England’s top flight. Kovačić was also averaging a fantastic 7.54 SofaScore rating in the Premier League, the third highest in England until mid-December.
However, Chelsea’s situation took a turn for the worst once Kovačić was placed on the injury list in late October.
According to WhoScored.com, Chelsea’s win ratio in the Premier League is an unimpressive 40% when Kovačić is missing from the starting XI. On the other hand, Chelsea have won 87.5% of their Premier League matches when Kovačić is starting. This stat alone proves how valuable ‘Kova’ is to Chelsea’s squad, the reigning Champions League winners. During Kovačić’s absence, Chelsea were unable to beat Wolverhampton, Everton, West Ham, Manchester United, Burnley, and Zenit St. Petersburg. Besides Manchester United, Chelsea should have won all of these matches. Despite fielding other “stars” such as Jorginho, N’Golo Kanté, and Mason Mount, Chelsea’s success is heavily dependent on the presence of Mateo Kovačić.
Mateo Kovačić is also SEVERELY underrated by European media and journalists. In 2021, Kovačić (7.24) averaged a higher SofaScore rating than both Jorginho (7.14) and N’Golo Kanté (7.00), his two midfield companions on Chelsea’s roster. Despite this success, Jorginho and Kanté finished in the top 5 of the 2021 Balon d’ Or rankings, while Kovačić failed to crack the top 30. When will he finally earn the credit he deserves?
A little less than two years ago, we all had our doubts about Kovačić’s career. He lacked consistency, had trouble progressing the ball, and was a fringe player for Chelsea. In the last two seasons, he has silenced his critics and proved why he should always be mentioned while debating the ‘best midfielders in the Premier League’. Kovačić is only 27 years old, still growing as a player, and is already a solidified starter for the Vatreni – in a midfield pool that consists of Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović, Lovro Majer, Mario Pašalić, and many more fantastic talents.