When Chelsea announced Maurizio Sarri late in Pre Season I fully backed him like all Chelsea fans. Despite not winning anything as a manager his style of play previously at Napoli was an encouraging watch.
Picture via independent.co.uk
A new style of play and system was always going to take time. However playing a high press system with ageing players was always going to be difficult to implement. This piece is an extension of ‘The Stubborn One’ article I wrote after our 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth.
For me I like the idea and philosophy that Sarri is trying to implement but I just don’t feel he’s the man to do it. People who know me will say that I’m always positive with regards to Chelsea and often look on the bright side. I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever lost patience with a Chelsea manager as quickly as I have with Maurizio Sarri and below is why:
The Players / The Board:
Picture via itv.com
I appreciate that the players do have to take some responsibility for what goes on but they simply don’t look comfortable in this system and the squad is ageing. Manager’s in any line of work have to adapt to the players / staff they have. If the board have hired Sarri knowing he can only play one way then they clearly didn’t do their homework!
Picture via fansided.com
Sarri brought in Jorginho with him from Napoli as the heartbeat of the team dictating play. As a result N’Golo Kante has played further forward this season despite arguably being the best player in the world in his natural position.
It appears Sarri feels he cannot leave Jorginho out of this team and no one else can do the job he can. I do have sympathy for Jorginho as he is a new player but it appears it’s as simple as marking him out of the match and Chelsea have no other options. As the movement is poor within the team Jorginho results in passing backwards and sideways and it’s exasperating for all to see.
I was pleased to see the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain in January but already you can see how isolated he is. You can have the best striker in the world but if you can’t get the ball to him what’s the point!
Picture via playingfor90.com
Finally on the players, yes they are to take some blame but should we just sack the lot and leave Sarri to rebuild? Never going to happen. Buck stops with the manager for me.
This is quote from David Luiz on the official Chelsea FC website on 16/2/19 appeared to be an attempt from the club to try and convince fans that the players are behind Sarri’s managerial philosophy. The club deliberately used the most senior player to front it! What concerns me most that if true why are none of the players speaking up constructively in these meetings? No leaders?
Many will say that Sarri didn’t have a pre season to fully work on his new style of play and I sympathise to a point. What I don’t get is that he continues to play the same players over and over again. Use more fringe players and our great youth team! Fans will understand that and respect what he’s trying to do. How can any manager question the mentality of his players but continue to play them again and again. Insanity.
Picture via gettyimages.co.uk
It’s been clear to see that especially Emerson has deserved more chance at playing left back replacing a very poor Alonso. Callum Hudson-Odoi without any doubt has deserved more game time but Sarri has continued to play ageing players like Pedro and Willian. Like many I’m really not surprised that one of our most promising young English talents wants to leave and I’m afraid that’s down to Sarri!
During a time where we’re desperate to keep Eden Hazard we’re really not helping ourselves. A great player who we clearly rely on too much. However, where would Chelsea be without him?
Picture via standard.co.uk
Teams who come up against Chelsea really only have to focus on themselves as you don’t have to be tactical genius to get a result. I’ve never known a Chelsea team to be so predictable in their approach. Chelsea don’t really need to announce the team selection before games anymore as we all know what it’s going to be!
Picture via metro.co.uk
Sarri continues to play the same way over and over again against all opposition we face. Sarri recently said in a press conference that he can’t start looking at a Plan B until the team have mastered Plan A. Really? Surely it’s the other way round?
What is also increasingly concerning is that we are very slow on the ball and very poor when we haven’t got it.
Mind boggling substitutions this season from Sarri. Commonly like for like or they come on too late in the game. Matteo Kovacic for Ross Barkley or vice versa has become a joke amongst fans in the ground as we know it’s going to happen at some point in the second half. Makes absolutely no difference to the game.
Picture via chelseafc.com
Other like for like substitutions include Willian/Pedro. Final straw for me was the most recent when Zappacosta replaced Azpilicueta when we were 2-0 down. Why not try something different? It almost feels despite Sarri being under pressure he’s doing everything he can to get sacked!
The result’s at the start of the season were quite encouraging but we could all see that it wasn’t reflecting a true picture. When new systems are implemented you expect to see improvements gradually. Chelsea are now going ‘backwards’, excuse the pun!
Picture via telegraph.co.uk
I don’t expect Chelsea to win every week and nor do I expect trophies regularly but it’s the manner in defeat that has been disheartening.
The 4-0 loss at Bournemouth and the 6-0 drubbing at Manchester City were beyond embarrassing and two of our worst results in many years!
Defeats to Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester, Wolves and Man United in the F.A Cup have also been very disappointing and humiliating at times.
Finally I come to the fans. Over the years Chelsea fans predominantly have backed manager’s especially Mourinho and Conte in recent times. Many discussion’s on twitter will always give the fans an opportunity to agree and disagree. The Matthew Harding Stand made their feelings known what they thought of ‘Sarriball’ against Man United in the F.A Cup and I honestly can’t disagree with them.
Picture via express.co.uk
So what’s the answer?
My personal opinion is that Sarri goes now! Things will not get better and looking at upcoming fixtures it could get worse! We also need to stop comparing our situation to Klopp and Guardiola. They are both serial winners and Sarri is not. I very much doubt we put in the same investment in players like Liverpool and Man City.
Who replaces Sarri? It’s not my job! All I know is Maurizio Sarri is not the man to take this team forward!
Written By Chris Wright