Saturday, May 25, 2019

Is Maurizio Sarri running out of time at Chelsea?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 11 Feb 2019

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Chelsea went into this season with much optimism after the summer appointment of highly-rated Italian boss Maurizio Sarri. His arrival at Stamford Bridge was designed to revive the Blues flagging fortunes after they finished fifth last season under another Italian Antonio Conte.

On Sunday, Chelsea suffered a humiliating 6-0 hammering at reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. The defeat saw Sarri’s team fall to sixth place in the table. Their recent displays have led to question marks over the future of the Italian at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea is bad for good bosses

On his arrival at Chelsea, Sarri was one of the most respected head coaches in European football courtesy of his excellent work Italian club Napoli. The experienced boss likes his team to play a possession-based, attacking style of football.

This style seemed very different from the one played under predecessor Conte, whose style is considered more pragmatic.

However, like so many bosses before him, including Conte, the Chelsea players have managed to find a way of breaking another top boss. It doesn’t seem to matter who the players are in the dressing room, there is always a sense that the players use the boss as a scapegoat for their poor attitudes and mental strength.

Sarri himself said a couple of weeks ago ‘I cannot motivate these players’. I am not sure who that statement reflects worse on Sarri or his players.

Is Sarri just a nearly man?

Chelsea is one of the most difficult jobs in European football. The expectations are huge and the competition in the Premier League is fierce. The Blues won the Premier League title a few seasons ago under Conte, but they are now miles behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

Sarri’s was an innovator at Napoli and he got good results in Naples, up to a certain point. The Italian turned his Napoli team into the best of the rest, behind the juggernaut of Italian football that is Juventus.

He did well to get anywhere near Juventus considering the vastly different resources at the respective clubs. However, there was a sense that his side was nearly good enough, but could never quite get over the line.

Sarri reminds me of Claudio Ranieri before his title win with Leicester. He is an excellent coach, but just never seems to have enough to win the big trophies. In fact, the Italian has never won a major trophy in his 27-year managerial career.

I, like many, enjoyed watching Sarri’s Napoli team and many thought his style would translate to Chelsea well. However, maybe the Italian just does not have the right players to make his style work with the team from south west London. Maybe his style is just good on the eye but bad for the trophy cabinet.

Now the favourite to lose his job

Maurizio Sarri is now the favourite to be the next top-flight boss to lose his job at odds of 5/6. The situation at Stamford Bridge is certainly not a good one at the minute for the Italian boss.

The Chelsea boss has recently claimed that he never hears from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after being asked about his future with the London club. He also said it was inevitable that there would be speculation over his future and that the club will decide his future.

It is not unthinkable that the Blues owner and his advisors are considering another change of head coach in the near future. However, as ruthless as Chelsea are with bosses I really do not see Sarri leaving before the end of the season.

If the Chelsea hierarchy does decide to fire the Italian then his replacement will have his work cut out to make major changes with just 12 Premier League games remaining this season. Sarri’s continued presence at Stamford Bridge will no doubt depend on where they finish in the table.

If they make the Champions League, I believe he will stay, if they do not then it seems almost inevitable that Sarri will lose his job.

Is Maurizio Sarri running out of time at Chelsea?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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