Ruben Loftus-Cheek shines again when Chelsea line up Malmö

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It was always likely that there would be victims of deep in Chelsea’s growing squad this season, and an overwhelming loan to Fulham last season along with quirky injuries suggested that Ruben Loftus-Cheek would be one of them.

Knocks to N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovacic and Saul Niguez’s tough adaptation to English football, however, opened the door for the 25-year-old, and he has taken the opportunity.

But while he impressed in starts against Southampton and Brentford and various cameos elsewhere, Loftus-Cheek’s return reached new heights in the Champions League group game against Malmö on Tuesday night.

The English national team player dominated the midfield in southern Sweden, acted as a link between defense and attack and played the role of Chelsea’s most creative outlet.

Of course, it is important not to go ahead of ourselves given the opposition and – although it may seem harsh – the false dawns we have seen from the midfielder before. This is not to say that this was a walk in the park, but Chelsea worked to win 1-0 over the stubborn Swedish champions in a biased atmosphere.

Loftus-Cheek was the core of everything good that the Blues did, except for the winning goal.

In the first half, his rediscovered self-confidence was clear to everyone when he drove an opponent’s midfielder and sprayed a pass to Hakim Ziyech on half volley. Those brand’s looting runs were the bright spark for an otherwise uninspired 45 minutes for the visitors, and he would have been frustrated to see Kai Havertz reject a one-on-one opportunity after slipping the German through at the end of one of them. raid. forward.

that RLC hat. delicacy. pic.twitter.com/3KUl2G2ixw

– amadí (@amadoit__) November 2, 2021

The midfielder seemed determined to take Chelsea to victory almost on his own in the second period, creating a shot on his own with brutal strength and fine footwork, selling two defenders a Cruyff turn before seeing his shot blocked by the goalkeeper.

Even after Ziyech finally gave the Blues the lead, Loftus-Cheek remained on the front foot. Havertz’s waste cost him a second assist after he skillfully used his body to roll a defender before taking a pass into the German national team player to drive through on goal.

Havertz was once again melancholy, and his shot was again suffocated by Johan Dahlin.

Loftus-Cheek’s cut and traction, all-action style leads to more ball losses than you will see from Kovacic, Kante or, of course, Jorginho – something Thomas Tuchel will be keen to erase from his game. He actually lost the ball possession in both halves, which led to half chances for the hosts.

At the other end, both the player and his manager will be anxious to see an improved goal return – something he is capable of.

Ruben Loftus-Cheeks match after numbers against Malmö:

80 touches 30 passes in the last third14 duels won (most) 8 last third entries7 selections completed (most) 7 touches in op. box4 shots4 air duels won (most) 3 created chances3 possession won

Dominant in midfield. pic.twitter.com/NcxNT0Ewme

– Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 2, 2021

But for now, the trade-off is worth it.

With the combination of his physicality, ball-bearing ability and footwork, Loftus-Cheek Tuchel offers something that none of his other midfielders can. If he can continue to take these small steps forward in his performance levels, he could be much more crucial to Chelsea than many would have anticipated at the start of the season.

For more from Krishan Davis, follow him on Twitter!

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