It’s now welcome back to a new season which we all hope will be exciting and entertaining. For Chelsea fans, the real viewing of Sarri-ball is largely anticipated and we all hope to have fun.
One noticeable change this season will be in playing style and system. Gone are the seasons of wing-backs and three-man defence for a back four and more dynamic team setup. The years of pragmatic and defensive football will be replaced by an expansive and artistic style and system. Maurizio Sarri’s preferred 4-3-3 formation has a lot of positives about it.
One major area that made Chelsea struggle lasts season was the midfield. Unarguably, the midfield is the engine room of any team and once it is dysfunctional, the team is bound to collapse. The midfield combination of Kante and any one of Bakayoko, Fabregas, and Drinkwater were often overran and equally failed to gel. But with good additions from the transfer window, Sarri has restructured Chelsea’s midfield with three qualities to be seen in the players.
Here the midfield players and the qualities they bring to the team’s midfield:
Sarri’s restructuring of Chelsea’s midfield will see the team play out from the back (defence), and then the major force of transitional play will be done by players I call the crafters. Their job will be to receive the ball from the defenders, orchestrate play as deep holding midfield players and begin the press up the opposition area. They are to dictate the tempo of the game and help the team attack deep in the opposition area. The players to enforce this are new signing, Jorginho and assist-king, Cesc Fabregas. Both players have the eyes for a perfect pass and have the football brain to transform Chelsea’s play from deep.
THE ENERGY BOOSTERS:
Much of our pre-season game saw us line up without our regular players and this was keenly felt particularly in midfield where we were mostly lacking in energy. Like in games against Arsenal in preseason, and Manchester City in the Community Shield, we lacked genuine midfield workaholics – the box-to-box midfielder. Arsenal’s Mkhitaryan and Ozil as well as City’s Bernando Silva and Foden found pockets of space to operate in their games. So, the likes of N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should provide cover in this regard. Their jobs will be to press opposition midfielders, steal possession – neat tackling and interceptions, provide steel to the midfield, protect the defence, and join up the attack when needed.
THE ENFORCERS – TREQUARTISTAS
These set of players are more like trequartistas. They join up the attack and play as attacking midfielders or supporting strikers, and also close to the wide areas of the pitch, and equally add steel to the midfield when the team is pressing or defending as central midfielders. Players for this role are Ross Barkley and Matteo Kovacic.
Let’s hope Sarri’s restructuring of Chelsea’s midfield brings good fortunes. Cheers!