Enzo Fernandez: The silver lining in Chelsea’s cloudy season

Svar Jain
By Svar Jain
6 Min Read

It’s not all bad news at Chelsea. Even if the 2-2 draw with Everton appears extremely disappointing, it is important to keep things in perspective in order to avoid a collapse over the two-week international break. The Blues were heavy favorites to win the game after their previous three victories in a row across all competitions. At Stamford Bridge, the home team controlled the opening half but was unable to break the tie.

Everton will remain in the Premier League if they continue to produce results like this and put up performances like this. Gutsy, of course—that usually goes without saying with a Sean Dyche team—but there was also a danger on the break that hasn’t been present as much during the last couple of disastrous seasons. This Everton squad is, for the most part, responding to Dyche’s requests for dedication, passion, and a never-give-up attitude. And Ellis Simms’ late goal-forcing play, which earned Everton a priceless point, epitomized all of those elements.

Simms had a dismal debut for Dyche in the Merseyside derby, but his bench-side contribution might be crucial in the grand scheme of things this season. It seems to sense that the Everton supporters who were traveling praised the outcome as if it had truly maintained their team in the Premier League

Of course, a difficult relegation struggle still awaits, but the manner of this performance—coming back twice against a top club and gaining momentum—is encouraging for that battle. As for Chelsea and Graham Potter, they won’t be too discouraged because there was nothing to laugh at or point to as proof that Potter ought to be fired.

There were also a couple of standout solo performances. Enzo Fernandez needed only a peek inside the Chelsea dressing room to get a sense of the stress that comes with carrying a seven-figure price tag.

Felix transferred from Benfica to Atletico Madrid in July 2019 for 125 million euros, and ever since he has battled to live up to his financial potential. He is definitely enjoying his football today, and Chelsea supporters are also enjoying him.

They will see enough of Enzo for years to come; whether they can appreciate him through the season’s conclusion is up for debate. And that payment of more than £100 million will soon be relegated to the background of his Stamford Bridge tale.

Enzo Fernandez’s Playstyle analysis

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Enzo has played nine games for Chelsea, and he has already established himself as the team’s beating heart. For those who enjoy numbers and current football lingo, the Argentine completes the most advanced passes per 90 minutes of Premier League play. Enzo, as he prefers to be called, is at the top of the list in that category after averaging 10.6 points per game prior to the victory against Everton. Ben Chilwell received a progressive pass from Enzo to start the move, which culminated in a daisy-cutting Felix finish.

Enzo’s artistic sense will be even more evident when Chelsea signs a star center-forward. But of course, it was his prowess in defensive midfield that made him such an important member of a World Cup-winning squad.

Enzo is a typical Premier League midfielder—strong physically, disruptive, and always looking for an opening to attack. He mixes up his passes well, sometimes sending a long, raking ball to the wing and other times picking the appropriate short option.

In a rare instance of first-half excitement, he used an aggressive surge of his own to draw a foul on the corner of the penalty area. Until Simms’ goal, the Felix goal and a Kai Havertz penalty that came shortly after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s back-heeled equalizer appeared to have set Chelsea on track for their fourth straight victory.

Once more, Enzo was in charge of Chelsea’s midfield, whether it was from a deep position or when he was initiating an attack with his teammates. He receives the ball under intense pressure at one point in the game, but after Havertz on the right side plays a one-two and Fernandez flicks it to Felix, Chelsea scores. Stamford Bridge reverberated with loud applause from everyone.

With Chelsea not playing until the start of next month, we are now headed for a two-week international break. It’s a letdown to cap off what has been, all things considered, a truly great March for the Blues. Yet perspective is unquestionably necessary. Finally, the players appear as though something is about to blow up on the field. Naturally, in a positive manner. Nonetheless, Fernandez was the focal point of a team performance that was decent but gave the impression that the Potter project is still very much a work in progress.

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