Maurizio Sarri came with a new style of play to Stamford Bridge as the Italian brought his Sarri-ball philosophy to England.
Sarri was tasked with changing Chelsea’s style of play, and the Italian started out well as Chelsea were dominating games and remained unbeaten until November.
However, Sarri’s side has run out of steam, and the Blues have been on a downward spiral since November. Chelsea’s form this year has even worsened, as the Blues poor form has seen the club drop out of top four and are now out of the FA Cup after losing to Manchester United 2-0 at the Bridge on Monday night.
Chelsea have been conceding goals easily, and many have attributed it to Sarri’s insistence on playing N’Golo Kante out of position.
Kante is rated as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, but Sarri has insisted on playing the Frenchman high up in midfield, with Jorginho playing as his deep line playmaker. Jorginho has constantly been exposed this season, and this has led to a constant exposure of our defence.
Sarri has continued to play Kante out of position despite the cries from pundits and fans, and former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told to return Kante to his more natural position.
Asked for his opinion on Kante on the red carpet at the Laureus Awards on Monday night, Wenger said: “Phenomenal. To have a successful team you need to have somebody, or some players, who sacrifice themselves for the team. Don’t talk, do it.
“When you lose the ball in front of you, he just works for you to win it back and he gives it back in the proper way.
“People who have maybe a smaller ego, but a bigger spirit of sacrifice, usually they make the difference.
“We spoke about Brazil, in Brazil they had a player that I bought, Gilberto Silva, who had a similar role in 2002 in the success of the Brazilian national team in Japan.”
Kante has recorded fewer tackles this season compared to any of his season previous seasons since he made his breakthrough at Caen, and his work rate and ability to win the ball back with ease is being missed at the back and it has left Chelsea vulnerable in defence.
Despite the recent results that have caused Chelsea to become a laughing stock in England, Sarri is still adamant that Sarri-ball is the way to go.
After the defeat to Manchester United, Sarri was asked if he felt his team completely understood the way he wants them to play.
Sarri responded: “Not completely at the moment because, especially in a situation like the second half, we have to move the ball faster mentally and materially. We need more movements without the ball and less individual actions.
“When you have spaces of course you can have individual actions, but when the situation is like the second half we need to move the ball faster and we need more movement without the ball otherwise it’s impossible to score.”