Superb Jorginho rises above Chelsea boo boys as Blues resurgence continues

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Positivity is coming back to Maurizio Sarri's side after weathering the storm of heavy away defeats and Carabao Cup final drama

All eyes were on Kepa Arrizabalaga, recalled for Chelsea's clash with Fulham, to see if he had the mental strength to bounce back from his recent "big mistake" in the Carabao Cup final. But it was match-winner Jorginho who most silenced his critics, scoring a beautiful goal in Sunday's 2-1 victory.

His first goal from open play under Maurizio Sarri was a reward for a midfielder booed at Stamford Bridge by his own fans recently, but who should be increasingly winning them over after three strong performances in a row.

Fifteen kilometres of running in 120 minutes against Manchester City saw him get picked out by opposition manager Pep Guardiola as a top performer, despite his penalty miss costing Sarri his first-ever trophy as a manager after the 0-0 stalemate at Wembley.

Jorginho is seen as pivotal to Chelsea by Sarri. Despite criticism that he lacks the physicality to operate as a defensive midfielder in the Premier League, he was pivotal against top four rivals Tottenham on Wednesday, which the Blues won 2-0 under immense pressure after the Kepa-stained theatrics at the weekend.

Another 12km of running underpinned a top defensive display against Spurs, where Jorginho pulled off the most interceptions, tackles and regained possession more than anyone else for his side at Stamford Bridge.

Fulham are a different prospect to City or Spurs, but Sarri will have been worried that Chelsea's woeful recent away record would see them lose by an aggregate score of 12-0 in their last three matches.

Maurizio Sarri Scott Parker Chelsea Fulham Premier League 030319

Gonzalo Higuain had reacted sharply to put the Blues into the lead early in the first half before Calum Chambers, on-loan from Arsenal, scored unmarked from a cross to level the game in the 27th minute. Jorginho's strike four minutes put Chelsea back in front, curling an Eden Hazard pass from the edge of the area past Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

It is no surprise that improvements from the Blues midfielder came after Chelsea's resurgence from an awful winter period that saw Sarri at risk of being sacked early into his tenure on the club's bench.

Jorginho has been a big part of Chelsea's form stabilising, as the midfield pass-master becomes more comfortable in English football and among his new colleagues. A 69th-minute substitution was needed though after a busy period, but also after he was fortunate to be only booked for a dirty tackle on the rapid wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon.

Jose Mourinho, doing punditry on the west London derby for BeIn Sport, recognised why there's a mystique over the midfielder's style of play.

"Jorginho is a good player, but he is different than any other midfielder in Chelsea throughout their history," the two-time former Chelsea boss said. "That is why they criticise him but it is because the fans do not like the new style. I think the problem is not about Jorginho but about the style."

However, Chelsea's past seven days has seen most of the focus on summer signing Kepa, who will be remembered for some time as the goalkeeper who refused to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final. He has since been punished, with Sarri dropping him against Spurs and Chelsea fining him a week's wages, but he returned between the sticks to face Fulham.

Kepa Arrizabalaga Ryan Babel Chelsea Fulham Premier League 030319

Kepa looked unfazed by the attention and looked more lost by windy conditions at Fulham, as he got away with a big mistake early in the first half when Ryan Babel failed to spot him spill the ball. However, the saga around him should be broadly put to bed now, as the 24-year-old's team-mates rally around him to ensure he is capable of delivering displays as Chelsea's record £71 million ($92m) signing.

In fact, it should have been plain sailing in the final minutes with the chances created by the Blues, but they needed to lean on their goalkeeper for some game-changing moments. Most memorably, Aleksandar Mitrovic could have equalised with two minutes left on the clock if not for a super save from Kepa.

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Chelsea are seeing positivity to return to the camp, following a dark winter, as their football looked more free-flowing in their first match at Craven Cottage for over five years.

They were helped by caretaker manager Scott Parker's side producing yet another leaky defensive display, even if the fight on display pleased fans sick of Claudio Ranieri's short-lived tenure.

Sarri's in-form Chelsea are back, and Jorginho is increasingly looking like the midfielder that Blues fans hoped he would be. After his goal and high energy displays, the boo boys may have to find a new target.

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