Can Maurizio Sarri turn it around at Chelsea?


Chelsea boss Mauricio Sarri is under more pressure at Chelsea, but how long does he have at The Blues? You can bet on the Premier League here.

Chelsea suffered yet another humiliating defeat this week, this time at the hands of Manchester United who knocked them out of the FA Cup in the fifth round. The defeat also put Maurizio Sarri under more pressure. After an impressive start to the season, Sarri’s Chelsea have endured a remarkable fall from grace.

The embarrassing 6-0 defeat away to Manchester City two weeks ago deepened the acute problems the beleaguered Italian manager is now facing at Chelsea. Moreover, things could get worse before they get any better. The Blues face City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday before they welcome Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, a tough run of matches that could define his fate.

Sarri is now walking on a tightrope given the history and ruthlessness of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Where it went wrong

The Italian’s tactics or lack of has been his biggest Achilles heel. He’s been criticised for being too stubborn and not allowing himself to be flexible in bigger matches. He tried to go toe-to-toe with City and received a battering and although the team bounced back with a win in the Europa League, they were uninspiring. Against United, a team that had not won at Stamford Bridge since 2012, Sarri used his usual approach which backfired.

The use of N’Golo Kante has been widely criticised by the media and fans. The deployment of summer signing Jorginho in the defensive midfield position which Kante had occupied since he joined Chelsea has also received harsh criticism.

The former Napoli midfielder has now become a scapegoat of Chelsea’s poor run of form and the embodiment of endless passing with little penetration. In the first few games of the season, Chelsea and Jorginho were magnificent but it seems teams found them out and saw that by stopping the midfielder, who lacks physicality, is stopped, then Chelsea are too.

Another issue that has bedevilled the Italian manager is before the arrival of striker Gonzalo Higuain from AC Milan in January, Eden Hazard was used as a ‘false nine’ which somehow explains his dip in form. They have scored only two goals in their last five away matches in all competitions.

Sarri has also criticised some of the players and the team’s performances. He once said that Hazard should speak with his feet and also saying that Chelsea’s players are hard to motivate. The war of words, especially with Hazard, is raising a few jitters as rumours of Real Madrid eyeing him intensifies.

In the meantime, Sarri is sticking to his guns by playing with his favoured 4-3-3 system.

Can he survive?

It’s hard to read owner Abramovich. However, he’s proven during his time at Chelsea that any manager that does not win will be given the marching orders. Chelsea have hired 11 different coaches since the Russian billionaire bought the club in 2003.

Sarri will have a few games to engineer some form of resurgence from his Chelsea team before Abramovich gives him the boot. Although the Blues comfortably dispatched Malmo to progress to Europa league’s Round of 16 the match against City on Sunday will be the acid test for the 60-year old.