It’s another International break – an unwanted disruption to a good league campaign for some clubs, while for some others it’s a time to reflect, regroup and reposition themselves for a tilt. For Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri, the new campaign has been very good so far and the only real issues have to do more with off-field matters than on-field.
Here are 3 boggling issues for Chelsea and Sarri to resolve:
THE UNDECIDED FUTURE OF EDEN HAZARD:
His unrivalled form and start to the season should still have many Chelsea fans asking what would have become of the club if Hazard had been sold to Real Madrid in the summer. But then the fear of still losing him resurfaced again this week as the Belgian gave a clue that he was undecided yet about his future. Here’s what he had to say:
“I want what’s good for me but I want what’s good for the club because the club has given me everything. I don’t want to say: ‘Yes, I am signing a new contract,’ and then in the end I don’t end up signing. So I will see. Sometimes in my head, I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay. It is a hard decision. It is my future. I am 27 and I will turn 28 in January.”
Quite a big dilemma for the player and it is one decision Chelsea and Sarri need to help him make. The Belgian is Chelsea most valuable and best player, and his contributions to the club cannot be questioned. Making him the world’s best paid player wouldn’t be a bad idea. Significantly, time is not on our side and the sooner the club gets to sign on the dotted lines, the better for all.
RESOLVING THE COMPLAINS OF GRUMBLING PLAYERS:
The shift in formation at Chelsea has had an effect in the playing opportunities of several players in the team. The likes of Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill have found their opportunities limited due to Sarri’s preference for a back four and the defensive partnership of David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger. It will be tough keeping all the players happy, but how he makes his other defenders feel valued and important will be crucial.
More so, the future of Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also another concern as the player might angle for a move away from Chelsea if he keeps seeing his path to becoming a first team regular being blocked. Convincing the player to stay and believe his future is at the club will be tough, especially when he’s not playing games.
One major positive for the International break is that it affords managers the time to improve their tactical nous in order to bring about tactical varieties that would help their teams during the cause of the season. This is not an exception to Chelsea and Sarri. Aside his preferred 4-3-3 formation, the fans are yet to see the team play in a different shape. With Chelsea bound to face teams that will likely come up with a game plan to stifle our fluidity, match our strengths or even park the bus, the need for Sarri to figure out different tactical approaches will be key in our quest for success this season.
Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!