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Is Sarri really done at Chelsea?

MAURIZIO SARRI arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018 and was given the task of replacing another Italian, Antonio Conte.

The former Napoli manager started life in England very well and Chelsea were seen as title contenders along with Liverpool and Manchester City. But Sunday’s humiliating 6-0 thrashing at The Etihad, Chelsea’s worst defeat since 1991 and a loss which confirmed a drop from fourth to sixth place in the EPL Table, has left Sarri clinging to his position only seven months into his three-year deal.

It is safe to say that losing 0-4 to Bournemouth the week prior didn’t do him any good. The result at City piled the pressure on Sarri, who has not yet seen his side score an away goal this year. As The Blues get ready to face Tottenham Hotspur on 28th of February in their next EPL fixture, here are some reasons why Sarri’s reign at Chelsea could be over.

1. Improper Team Selection

Sarri’s team selection is very questionable. David Luiz has been so poor this season and has made way too many errors but he still continues to be in the starting line up. Also, Andreas Christensen, who is likely to improve with age has not been given the chances he deserves ahead of Luiz. Alonso has also been favoured by Sarri although he is a defensive liability. Pedro and Willian have been quite inconsistent and poor while a promising talent like Callum Hudson Odoi is being made to wait for chances.

Callum Hudson-Odoi's lack of minutes was a significant factor behind his desire to join Bayern Munich in January. Jorginho, Sarri's favourite, has displaced the best defensive midfielder in the world and so far he has done nothing to justify that. It is understandable that Sarri needs a technical midfielder and Kante is not a technical player. But the amount of defensive protection the Frenchman can provide should have been enough to convince Sarri to find a different way to play his football.

Another promising talent like Ruben Loftus Cheek is not being given chances while Barkley despite his average performances gets the nod. You have to look at the players and put them in the right position. If they do not fit into the system you want to play, you have to change the system or atleast change the players.

2. Failure To Adapt To The Premier League

The English top flight has proven not to be kind to new managers and Sarri is finding it out the hard way. The blame game started when it was believed that Alvaro Morata's poor form is the reason behind Chelsea's goal scoring problem. Finally, the real trick to stop Chelsea was revealed and it was to stop Jorginho from maintaining the tempo of the game and exploit his weak defensive game.

In the 3-1 defeat against Tottenham, it became clear to the rest of the Premier League teams that marking Jorginho is the key to stopping Chelsea. And since then not only have teams exploited that but have also targeted other areas such as the defensive vulnerability of David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.

Good managers adapt their systems depending on the type of opposition. Chelsea’s 6-0 loss to Man City clearly showed that Sarri is too stubborn to adapt his system. Surprisingly, the Italian said at the end of the game that he will not change his style despite the humiliating loss. Stubborn managers don’t often last in the Premier League and the best example of that was Jose Mourinho.

3. No Real Leader in the squad

Sarri has questioned the mentality of his players more than once this season and kept Gary Cahill as the club captain despite freezing the defender out of his plans. Cahill is one of the few genuine leaders left at Chelsea, but his influence has been minimised by the fact that he has rarely been included in Sarri’s matchday squad or used within the dressing-room.

The 60-year-old has barely spoken to the former Bolton Wanderers man and has not consulted him on what might be going wrong.

Chelsea had one of their poorest campaigns last season under Antonio Conte. The Blues finished the season in 5th position and went out of the Champions League in the round of 16. The arrival of Maurizio was meant to change things but currently, things don’t look any better.

Chelsea started the season with hopes of challenging for the title. But as it stands, the Blues risk missing out on the Champions League next season and their manager cannot escape the blame. Chelsea is currently a sinking ship and unless they sack Sarri, it could become more disastrous. A combination of tactical blunders and a lack of plan B proves that Sarri is not the best man to lead Chelsea in the long run.

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