Though having not won a title in his 23-year career, Maurizio Sarri came to Chelsea with much hype and expectations. The Italian’s style of play which was nicknamed Sarri-ball as well as what he did with a Napoli side that don’t have near the level of Chelsea’s quality made many believe that Sarri-ball will be a success at Chelsea.
Fast-forward into his first season, Sarri-ball has been damned by most, and many Chelsea fans can’t wait to see the back of the Italian after a humiliating 6-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium. It’s the worst defeat the club has experienced in 27 years and the fans were left reeling and couldn’t believe what they had seen. Chelsea are also in danger of missing out on top four. This uncertainty got wagering markets fixed on betting sites for the latest odds on this team. We suggest that you also read more on sites like BetEasy to learn more about the predictions on their upcoming matches.
Sarri-ball started out well at Chelsea before its recent disaster, which means there’s hope that Maurizio Sarri’s style of play can bring success once more to Stamford Bridge. Many pundits and football analysts have complained that Chelsea’s slump under Sarri has been due to his rigidity, stubbornness and refusal to change.
Below are some weak links that teams have used to stop the threat of Sarri-ball:
1. The Jorginho role
Playing Jorginho as his deep-line playmaker to some is the genesis of Sarri’s problem. The season started out well with Jorginho doing okay as the playmaker of the team, dictating the team’s passing style and tempo from deep in midfield. The Italian was like the Xavi of Chelsea’s midfield; he was the eye of the team, but he got found out in November when Tottenham defeated Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley. His defensive frailties became evident as Spurs ran through Chelsea’s midfield at will. Since then, it’s been from one bad game to another for the playmaker. Many have now called Sarri to deploy N’Golo Kante to his natural role as a defensive midfielder.
Full-backs have become an important part of a team in modern football and their role and importance keep increasing by the day. Fast, pacey and intelligent full-backs are very important if you want to play attacking football, and Chelsea’s full-backs Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso aren’t blessed with speed, especially Alonso. The duo is sometimes slow to meet up with attack when needed and sometimes lack the speed to bust down opposition’s counter. Azpilicueta and Alonso don’t have the pace to bust up and down the flanks and take on a man – two features that will make Chelsea’s attack fluid.
3. Inability to press as a unit
One thing that was consistent in our defeats to Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City is Chelsea’s inability to press as a unit. Pressing high and recovering the ball high up are two things Sarri expects from his players, but Chelsea players haven’t come to terms with pressing as a unit and this saw us exposed badly against City.
4. Movement and runs
One major theme of Sarri-ball this season have been Chelsea’s lack of goals. Most of Chelsea’s goals have been scored by Eden Hazard, as Oliver Giroud and Alvaro Morata struggled to get the goals. Sarri swooped in for Gonzalo Higuain in the January transfer window, and while the Argentine is an upgrade on Giroud and Morata, the problem hasn’t been solved.
Chelsea’s attacking problems and inability to create chances stem from the team’s positional play and poor movement. The team doesn’t make enough forward runs and the build-up is usually slow and predictable. The forwards hog the ball too much and everyone moves to the direction of the ball, making it hard to create chances.
The season is gradually coming to an end, but if Sarri can solve these problems, Chelsea can have an explosive end to the season.