I’m not going to speak in detail about the loss last night, that was hideously embarrassing. If I was a supporter who made the trip, I’d be knocking on doors at Stamford Bridge today demanding a refund.
But sack Sarri? Don’t be silly. It’s just past mid-season, whether you agree or not, he certainly needs more than half a season.
Having said that, there are a number of things that annoy me about his current reign. I fear that his stubbornness will end up getting him the sack. If something isn’t working, change it. If the players don’t get your system yet, tweak it, a bit. I’m one of the few who understands what he is trying to do here though. I get his system. It’s about quick passing and interchanges, leading to ‘goals’…
I’d rather boss a game, than be defensive and rely on opposition mistakes. But with that said, I’d also rather win matches. We aren’t turning our possession into goals, so therefore it becomes boring and frustrating. If we were scoring and winning, nothing but good things would be said right now. But we aren’t, and that cannot be ignored.
Sarri blames lack of motivation from his players, and I agree to an extent – some of these players mentalities are a disgrace. They down tools when things aren’t going well, and there is nobody standing up and being counted. A lack of leaders, maybe. A lack of balls, absolutely. They are all too quick to hide and not take responsibility. They are ALL to blame, none of them have the strength to go to war, to battle and dig in. Even Eden Hazard looks lost at times and his head already looks in Madrid.
Sarri also says they haven’t learnt his system, and that he’s surprised. Well, I’m not. We have lacked quality for many years now and previous managers have said the same thing. We have an ageing squad with many average players. I’m not surprised we can’t provide that creative and cutting edge, because we simply don’t have a lot of that in the squad. The board need to sign better and younger players. We also need to release the deadwood.
The main issue is the players lack the quality to play the way that Sarri wants. We lack creativity, we don’t have the flair, we lack the quality.
However, Sarri needs to look at this, and adjust. I get he wants to play his way, but for me that’s impossible unless we add two or three more quality players in the attacking third.
Sarri’s substitutions are late, and uninspiring. When we are down by 2 or 3, this is when he needs to look at it and make drastic changes. Bring another forward on, mix it up, try something different.
His tactics have been found out by the opposition. They know what to do, they contain our possession knowing that there won’t be much threat, and they counter attack knowing we are vulnerable under those situations. It’s really quite easy to play against Sarri’s Chelsea right now if you ask me. Teams with pace will always have a good chance of getting goals against us. It’s scary really.
Sarri also needs to be using the quality that he does have. Hudson-Odoi not even on the bench? Ridiculous! He’s our second best winger, period. I don’t dislike Pedro and Willian, I do. But Hudson-Odoi is better.
Same with Kovacic. I think he’s a great quality player, but is clueless in attacking situations. He’s much better playing deep. So, start Loftus-Cheek, who has much better quality in the attacking sense. Use what quality you do have.
Damn, right now people like Ethan Ampadu should even be starting, if you want to talk about lack of balls and mentality. He’s your man there. Reece James is your man there, get him back, play him. They won’t be any worse than some of the deadwood playing here and they’ll give you 100% as supposed to the half hearted crap on display last night.
But a lot of it is on Sarri as I said. Bringing off Higuain in a straight swap for Giroud last night? Unbelievable. If anything, bring Giroud on there as well and hammer balls into the box, the passing possession game WAS NOT WORKING. Try something else.
Now when I speak about a plan B, I don’t mean it in the sense that others are saying. If you want to play a passing possession based game, brilliant, I’m all for that. But why not tweak the formation to trump opponents?
Below I have a formation that I would much rather see us start every game….
If we play like this, it gives extra protection for counter attacks. It allows Kante to help out defensively as well as offensively. It gives free’s up Jorginho to be able to orchestrate. And it allows our best attacking and creative players to be able to work their ‘magic’ in more advanced positions. It will also get Loftus-Cheek closer to Higuain and Hazard, where they can link up and create more. This is a no brainer for me. I even think Willian would be OK in the ten role.
But will Sarri change it? Absolutely not. Which in my opinion, will end up being his downfall sooner rather than later.
To balance it out though, if Chelsea decide to back him in the summer – which they really need to do, then his system could thrive, and could be successful. If he gets a few more players of quality, and more leadership, we could end up seeing a very attractive style of football at Stamford Bridge.
But it’s a massive ‘IF’. The board obviously chose Sarri because they bought into his philosophy, so they need to back him with better players. Sarri has always said it’s not about the players and he can train anyone. But unfortunately, I think he may have met his match with this group of players, who have needed a massive clear out and shake up for some time now.
I’ll conclude by saying, I’m not giving up on Sarri, and give me attacking based football over defensive containment any day. I’m prepared to allow some more patience to get this. But Sarri MUST make tweaks, and MUST improve his in-game management.