As Arsenal comfortably beat a lackluster and toothless Chelsea side in the Premier League to close the gap to 3 points between themselves and Chelsea in fourth, I look at five key talking points from this London derby which ended in a dreadful defeat for Chelsea.

  1. The false nine formation is so ineffective- Although the false nine formation worked against Manchester City on that one occasion, since then it has been so ineffective for Chelsea in many games. Today’s game, alongside the loss against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup demonstrated how ineffective the system is. Even in the game against Newcastle where Chelsea just scraped a win, showed the ineffectiveness of the false nine system. The main issue with the system is that it completely restricts Hazard’s impact on the game.

(Credit- @NizaarKinsella)

These stats just showed how ineffective Hazard was in today’s match. However as soon as Giroud came on, that allowed Hazard to move to the wing, and therefore in the last 20 minutes of the game, he had much more of an impact. The conclusion from today’s game is that the false nine cannot be the main system that Chelsea use anymore.

2. Kovacic’s impact on games is questionable- This was completely illustrated in today’s game, as again Kovacic didn’t offer anything unique to the Chelsea midfield today. The problem with Kovacic centres around his attacking play. Most Chelsea fans thought that they were getting an attacking midifelder when Chelsea signed the Croatian on loan. However it looks like we have been fooled. The best way to sum up his game today is average in the defensive phase, and poor in the attacking phase. The worry for me is that in every game I have seen Kovacic in, Kante has been more attacking than him which is a massive worry. At this moment in time, I Can’t see Chelsea making his move permanent from Real Madrid.  The worrying thing from this game from Kovacic’s point of view, is that as soon as Barkley came on, he made more of an impact than the Croatian did.

A statistic to sum Kovacic up so far this season, is that in 20 appearances so far this season, he has scored no goals and only has two assists… Here are some of Chelsea fans reactions to Kovacic’s performance today;

3. Jorginho…- The Italian had another game to forget in a Chelsea shirt. Slow on the ball, always passed backwards, and was a real weakness today in that Chelsea midfield. He has now had two shocking games for Chelsea against the top six in my opinion. Today’s game and many other games this season, have demonstrated how ineffective Jorginho has been in a Chelsea shirt so far this season.

He was even described as ‘the Italian Lee Cattermole’ by someone on Twitter which is very controversial…

Here’s Rio Ferdinand’s damning assessment of Jorginho’s performance today. Click on the link to watch the video.

The solutions to the Jorginho problem for Sarri is either, drop him and use Ampadu in the regista roll. Switch Kante into the Jorginho position, and try a midfield three of Kante, Barkley and Kovacic/Ampadu for the next games to see whether this will work. The last solution which I expect Sarri to choose is signing a new midfielder. Sarri has made it clear now that he wants a Fabregas replacement to provide competition for Jorginho, and Paredes has been heavily tipped to make the move to Chelsea before the deadline. So we will see now what happens in the remainder of the transfer window in relation to Cesc Fabregas’s replacement.

Here are some of the other reactions on Twitter to Jorginho’s performance;

I do think some of the reactions on social media in relation to Jorginho are over the top. However, there was no denying that Jorginho was poor today.

4.  Sarri and the Players at fault for that defeat- From 4:30 pm, when the teams came out, and as soon as I saw that we were playing the false nine, I had a gut feeling that we would be in trouble. But the most worrying thing that made me and many Chelsea fans have a bad feeling before this game is the personnel selected today. Alonso should have been dropped for Emerson. Hudson-Odoi should have started ahead of either Pedro/Willian. And Giroud had to start today, as Chelsea completely lacked a focal point up front until the last 20 minutes of the game. So Sarri’s tactical decisions were wrong from the start. What also baffled me is that we were 2-0 down at half-time and looked hopeless, but it took Sarri until the 63rd minute of the game to make the first sub! The fact that Sarri took so long to make a sub reminded me of what Conte was like.

The one thing that Mourinho had over Sarri and Conte when he was at Chelsea, was that when he saw something going wrong, he would immediately make a change. However the two Italian managers are very stubborn when it comes to making subs.

This was Jermaine Jenas’s assessment of Sarri today. Click the link and watch the video.

Secondly, these players showed no heart, no desire and no passion today in a London derby! And as a result, alot of these players were heavily criticised by Sarri in his press conference. Click the links below to see what he had to say;

5. Top 4 race is now wide open!- After Chelsea’s defeat tonight, the gap between Chelsea to Arsenal and United in 5th and 6th place is only three points. If Chelsea would have won today, that would have put them nine points ahead of Arsenal, and six points above United, but it wasn’t to be.

@jakeheasman explains the importance of Chelsea finishing in the top 4, and the negative implications of what could happen if Chelsea miss out on the top 4 at the end of the season;

The main thing that I took away from the game as a Chelsea, fan is that Gonzalo Higuain can’t come soon enough!

Lets see what happens in the remainder of the transfer window. I expect a busy end to the window for the Blues.

Chelsea next play in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final second leg next Thursday against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. Will Gonzalo Higuain be available for that game? And can Chelsea overturn a 1-0 deficit to go through to a Cup final.

In terms of the Premier League, Chelsea are next in action on Wednesday 30th January, when they travel to the south coast to face Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at 7:45pm.

Leave me your comments down below. What did you think of the game? And who was at fault for today’s defeat?

By Danyal Khan

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