Maurizio Sarri had his Napoli team playing exciting football, and Sarri-ball was praised by pundits and journalists in Italy.
Following the sack of Antonio Conte, Chelsea appointed Sarri as the new Blues manager and tasked the Italian with changing the team’s style of play.
Sarri-ball started brightly as Chelsea didn’t taste defeat until the 3-1 loss to Tottenham back in November. Since then, it has been downhill for Chelsea, and the Blues who were in the title race at the time are now outside the top four spot.
Worse still, Sarri’s tactics have now stifled star man Eden Hazard, while we’ve seen N’Golo Kante being played out of position. Cesc Fabregas had to leave the club due to his insistence of using only Jorginho in the Premier League, Alvaro Morata also opted to leave as the manager played Hazard through the middle – a move that never worked.
The hype that came with Sarri-ball has died down as teams find it easy to defend against Chelsea and then hit on the breaks, and the 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth just characterised how poor Chelsea have been of late.
Being a revolutionary manager isn’t something that happens instantly, but we’ve seen Manchester City and Liverpool managers, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp exact their football on the team and provide results. Even though they never won the league in their first season, the foundation was laid.
And former Manchester United and Everton defender Phil Neville has revealed that he can’t see what Sarri is doing to make anywhere near the same level of impact as his two rivals.
“You hear all these coaches talk about ‘Sarri-ball’, saying ‘this coach is revolutionary’,” he told Premier League Today.
“And when he came in at Chelsea I was waiting… I was waiting for something special.
“When Pep came and when Klopp came we saw something different but I don’t think we’ve seen anything different from ‘Sarri-ball’.
“Nothing about it has blown me away. He always takes Barkley and Kovacic off at 60 minutes every game.
“Sarri going after Hazard, I don’t think was the smartest move because he’s their best player.
“I think Hazard will be a Real Madrid player next year, that’s my gut feeling.
“And he’s not playing at anywhere near the standard that he should be at the moment.”