It’s not about being reactionary, it’s about the present, and the future of Chelsea Football Club

Chelsea went one nil down to Cardiff on Sunday after what was an abysmal half of football from Maurizio Sarri’s men, who failed to register a single shot on target.

The fans called for Sarri to be sacked once again, at the game and on social media. There seems to be very few with the patience to still back the Italian.

I had already started drafting a thread for a tweet, that would be giving my reasoning why I have now also lost my patience with Sarri. I had it started before the match even began, and I knew I’d be tweeting it whether we won, drew, or lost. I, like many, just feel totally separated from the club I’ve adored for over the last 30 years, and I knew that Sarri was a collective part of that feeling.

It’s a struggle to watch this team play. The football is predictable , and teams have easily found us out. Yesterday, Cardiff marked out Jorginho, and didn’t allow David Luiz to bring the ball out the back. The only player they allowed the room to do this, was Antonio Rudiger, knowing that he doesn’t have the same vision as the aforementioned players.

Teams allow us possession, defend, contain, and hope for a counter. It seems so easy to get something from Chelsea this season, and it’s become embarrassing.

Yesterday we were saved by an awful lineman’s decision, and a late Loftus-Cheek header. But it didn’t paper over the cracks.

The performances are poor, but that’s not the main reason my patience has gone.

You can talk about his lame team selections, his poor in-game management, and lack of alternative ideas all day. But for me, it’s the fact that Sarri simply does not have the players to implement his system. He needs at least 6 or 7 top quality players in a number of positions to get anywhere near playing the way he wants to play. And that’s simply not going to happen.

We have so much deadwood and ageing players. We need a revamp. But that’s not coming. So for the sake of Chelsea’s present, we need to move Sarri on now and stop trying something that is just not going to work.

I desperately want Sarri to succeed, I wanted to see an attacking style of football at Stamford Bridge. But with this squad of players, and the fact that Sarri always insists that he doesn’t need signings, and is adamant he can improve what he has got – I’m afraid he is wrong.

The squad issues stem from our board. For me, this is a bigger problem than Sarri. Without going too deep, they’ve made the wrong investments and lack the footballing knowledge to make the right decisions for the club. They desperately need a director of football, and someone in charge of transfers, as well as youth integration.

The squad we have simply aren’t good enough, and the task is impossible for Sarri.

My final reason for wanting Sarri to go is fairly simple. Call me what you want, youth obsessed or however you want to spin my passion. But if Sarri stays, Callum Hudson-Odoi will ask to leave again this summer.

For me, Callum is not over hyped, he’s just one of the few young players who has got that extra bit of special talent about them. A player that every other club in the world wants. A player who is the second best winger at the club, yet has failed to gain one Premier League start all season.

Not only Callum, but I fear for the progress of players such as Reece James, who like Callum, has that extra special factor about his game.

Sarri is stubborn, Sarri maintains his trust in ageing and out of form players. Sarri will always be reluctant and hesitant to trust the younger players. Age is irrelevant to me in these circumstances. These guys are good enough, and better than some of the current crop.

Emerson is the best left back at the club, Callum the second best winger, Loftus-Cheek the best midfielder, Andreas Christensen the best centre back, and Reece James the best right back (I know he’s out on loan). I realise that Ruben has suffered with back injuries, so I fully understand that. But Sarri continues to insist on playing players like Marcos Alonso who has frankly been awful, and ignoring the others mentioned here.

Players like Fikayo Tomori, George McCeachran, Tammy Abraham, Jay Da Silva, Daishawn Redan, Billy Gilmore, Ethan Ampadu, and Mason Mount, just to name a very small few, must honestly feel they have no hope of making it at Chelsea, whilst Sarri is there.

Some of these players could easily be squad fillers now, and at least be given the chance to make it here. Then add in a few quality signings along with the handful of players there now who are good enough, we’d have a top squad again.

But with Sarri, he won’t put his trust in some of these fringe and young players. He just won’t.

For me, losing Hudson-Odoi or Christensen simply because the manager won’t play them, and continues to pick ageing and out of form players instead, is just not acceptable.

What I’d do now? I’d bring in Steve Holland as an interim until the summer. Then seek out the right man.

Who is the right man? Great question. Leonardo Jardim the dream, but unrealistic. Someone like Eddie Howe, who went and coached alongside Sarri at Napoli to learn. But the difference is, Howe is adaptive as well as being an attacking manager. He plays to the strengths of his squad, and will adapt his tactics depending on who he is playing, or how the game is going.

There’s definitely better options than Howe, but I wouldn’t rule him out. Frank Lampard would be the eventual dream appointment, but not yet, he’s still learning his trade and we want him when he’s fully confident in his ability as a manager. He’s not far off.

Steady the ship now with an interim, keep playing attacking football, but be adaptive and pick players on merit for the rest of the season. Bring in a DOF and a manager who isn’t afraid to put trust in the non-experienced players this summer. A better man manager and someone more open to switching styles to trump opposition.

Imagine Sarri still in charge next season, with this transfer ban not being frozen? That can still be a reality. We will still see this exact same possession football with no penetration and being too predictable, this time next year. Teams have easily found him out.

I just can’t see it going any other way now. It’s not a mentality thing, it’s a quality thing. And it’s just not working in this league, with these players. He’s just not the right fit for Chelsea as it stands.

Simon Phillips

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One thought on “It’s not about being reactionary, it’s about the present, and the future of Chelsea Football Club

  1. Great piece, I have to agree, i’m very worried about our young players’ futures, this would have been a great season to allow them to transition into the main squad for some of them, had Sarri had faith in them. With Sarri out and someone in who’s willing to give them a chance, a transfer ban would be a blessing for them next season, dare I say it, with Hazard gone, Callum and Pulisic could tear up the wings all day long but we need to act now!

    Like

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