Maurizio Sarri came to the Premier League with a reputation of playing possession-based attacking football labelled ‘Sarri-ball’ and while it produced results during the early parts of the season, Chelsea have struggled recently with the Blues thrashed 6-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has called Sarri-ball nonsense and believes Sarri’s style of play is just an adapted tactic similar to one used by Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
“If I hear one more person talking about Sarri-ball, I may scream,” Fowler told Daily Mirror.
“What the hell is it? As far as I’m concerned, it just a bloody word that has stuck, without any real meaning (I’d use another word, but it’d only be censored!).
“Seriously, what is it? A manager’s system and tactics. Like no other manager has ever had any tactics.
“With Chelsea facing City today in a cup final, do you think Pep Guardiola doesn’t have a system?
“Do you think he’s not defined a tactical plan over his years as a top-class manager?
“In fact, Guardiola’s system – let’s call it Guardio-balla – seems suspiciously like Sarri’s, in terms of keeping possession and moving the ball quickly when a space appears.
“Except he’s been doing it longer, at a much higher level.
“So Sarri has based his system on Guardiola. Who based his on Johan Cruyff. Who took it from Rinus Michels. Who adapted various systems going all the way back to Hungary in the 1950s.
“So Sarri-ball is just ‘total football’ for the modern high-tempo game. Which is what Guardiola’s system is. And Jurgen Klopp’s.
“My point is not to criticise Sarri, but to say it’s just a label.
“There’s a bit of an agenda against Sarri and Chelsea right now, so Sarri-ball is used in a derogatory way.
“But equally it was defined as this new, revolutionary, mythical approach to football when he was at Napoli. Even though they won nothing.
“Either way, it’s nonsense. And instead of obsessing over it, I’d say looking at the Carabao Cup Final, Chelsea have more fundamental issues.
“They were whacked 6-0 by City a couple of weeks ago, so they have to change something.
“That’s what managers are paid to do. To come up with solutions.
“It’s not whether Sarri-ball works or not, it’s whether the manager can inspire his players to do something different. If he can’t, then he’s not likely to survive long.
“Good luck with the Sarri-ball, Maurizio.”
What are do you think about Fowler’s thoughts on Sari-ball?