Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri blamed the players for the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday and refused to blame his tactics for the loss.
“I have to say that I’m extremely angry, very angry indeed,” Sarri said after the loss to Arsenal. “This defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else, our mental approach. We played against a team which mentally was far more determined than we were.
“And this is something I can’t accept that. We had a similar issue in the league game at Tottenham. We spoke a great deal about that loss and our approach at the time, and I spoke to the players, and I thought we’d overcome this issue.”
When asked if he got it tactically right against Arsenal, Sarri added: “I think when you see this type of a game where one team is more determined then you can’t talk about tactics. Their high level of determination was much bigger throughout the game, in both boxes. We weren’t strong enough in defence.”
While it was obvious for all to see that Arsenal started the game more determined and more aggressive than Chelsea, Sarri failed to react.
Sarri keeps insisting on playing Eden Hazard as a false nine and truth be told, Hazard has not been brilliant playing that role. He might have scored some goals and provided some assists playing as a false nine but we aren’t seeing the best of Hazard from that position.
With Chelsea failing to threaten Arsenal in the first half, it was expected Olivier Giroud would start the second half with Sarri sacrificing an ineffective Willian but the same team started the second half and Giroud was only granted a 22-minute cameo with Arsenal already set and comfortable in their defensive shape.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery set his team up in what looked like a 4-3-1-2 and a variation in formation is something Chelsea fans would love to see from Sarri.
Sarri sticks to his 4-3-3 irrespective of the team’s form and whether we are winning or losing and this is so sad. A change in formation in the start of the second half or even during the first half could have done the trick for Chelsea but a rigid Sarri wouldn’t dare do that.
Marcos Alonso’s lack of mobility with and without the ball was a problem for Chelsea against Arsenal at both ends of the pitch and why the Spaniard keeps starting surprises me. Emerson needs to be given a run to see if he can offer the team more and what message is Sarri passing to Emerson when he keeps playing an out-of-form Alonso ahead of him.
Jorginho struggled to cope with Aaron Ramsey paying attention to him just like Dele Alli in the 3-1 defeat to Spurs. Jorginho struggles when quickly pressed and having N’Golo Kante sitting beside him in midfield could help him. Sarri likes the game to pass through Jorginho and Chelsea always struggle when the Italian international struggles. Every team in the Premier League seems to be targeting Jorginho now and Sarri needs to do something about that fast.
Marcus Rashford’s performances for Manchester United recently under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shows what trusting a young player brings to a team. Solskjaer has trusted Rashford and he has been a different player under Solskjaer.
Sarri needs to trust Callum Hudson-Odoi even more. The performance of Willian and Pedro against Arsenal didn’t show why they should play ahead of the youngster.
Chelsea need to play with pace and aggression and it’s Sarri’s job to pick players that will offer Chelsea this. Would Sarri be bold enough to leave out Mesut Ozil if he was Arsenal manager? He is the biggest player in the Arsenal team but his lack of energy and aggression means Emery has left him out of their starting XI in recent weeks.
Sarri needs to start choosing his team based on performances and not names.