Stick or Twist: Chelsea in Sarri state but sacking the manager is not the answer

Chelsea are going through a very rough patch right now and the majority of the fans have turned on the manager. Easily the worst patch in the Roman-era in terms of results but think about it, is it as bad as the 2015 season under Mourinho? Or even last season when Fussball was more exciting than watching Chelsea?

Anyway, let’s not get into conclusions just yet. There are a lot out there who would do anything to get Sarri out of the club as soon as possible and there is no way they are going to think differently with just those two points.

Yes, Sarri has made some huge mistakes at Stamford Bridge. His tactics have been easily found out and his stubbornness to change players and methods is irritating. But wasn’t this known way before he was appointed?

There was ZERO guarantee of instant success. The Italian hasn’t won anything in the top-flight in his career and was bound to take time adjusting to English football.

However, he did well at the start. There was free flowing football and there was that hope of getting trophies and watching beautiful football among Chelsea fans. But one bad patch and it’s all gone down crumbling.

In this article, a rather long one, it’s time to take a look at not just what mistakes Sarri has been making, but also what repercussions backing and sacking him would have at Chelsea.

Let’s start off with the majority’s favourite: Sarri’s mistakes.

Mistake #1 – Not changing tactics

Sarri loves to play the 4-3-3 and he has been using that for years now. It was amazing to watch at Napoli but at Chelsea, it’s not been that good.

The manager has opted to move N’Golo Kante, the world’s best DM to a position he’s less comfortable in – RCM. That has not done Chelsea any good and he had kind of become the weak link in the attack as he was not someone who could shoot, let alone from distance. But, to Kante’s credit, he has worked hard and not let the team down.

Jorginho had a dream start in the league but once he was man-marked, there was nothing he could do too. The whole tactic came crashing down and there was no ‘Plan B’ in place. The opponents were on top of Chelsea once they had the Italian marked out.

Mistake #2 – Not changing players

Why Willian, Pedro, Alonso, David Luiz and Barkley are still in the starting XI is puzzling. They are not tactically smart and none of them are suited for SarriBall.

There is absolutely no way they are ever going to be capable of playing the way Sarri wants them to. They are always out of position and never have I seen them making that overlapping run to support the one with the ball. If Hazard drops into Barkley’s position, the Englishman doesn’t move and cover the wing, he stays grounded and comes in the way of the Belgian. Same can be said about Kovacic too but compared to Barkley, he’s at least tried to help.

As for Willian and Pedro, they rarely put in a good attacking-pass but when they do, they stand and admire it. They forget that they still have to contribute and they just stand and drool over their pass that has come off after hundreds of attempts.

Given Callum Hudson-Odoi’s performance in the pre-season, Sarri should have just stuck with him and Hazard in the XI, but for some reason, he keeps picking Willian and Pedro.

Another player who should be playing regularly is Emerson Palmieri. The left-back is 10x better than Marcos Alonso in every single department apart from taking free-kicks maybe. Palmieri has better positioning sense, passing, dribbling, skills and most of all, he’s a way better defender!


Those are the two big mistakes I can think of by Sarri and yes, despite losing games, it’s odd that the manager has not changed a thing. Not even tried and I can see why a lot of the fans want to see him gone. But there is one big mistake only a few are batting an eye for: the board.

When Sarri joined, he claimed that he was not a manager who bothered about transfers. The Board was more than happy with it and got him just 2 players – Jorginho and Kepa Arrizabalaga. Kovacic joined on loan and Rob Green was also signed, but are they really the signings Chelsea needed?

The board just wanted the other players at the club to learn SarriBall – like giving an accounts book to an uneducated person and asking him to become a CA overnight. Unless you get the right players for the system, nothing is going to change.


Now, that we have the mistakes of Sarri and the board noted, let’s look at the scenarios:

What happens if Sarri is sacked?

Sarri is gone and Chelsea are on the hunt for another manager. Who would be willing to head to Stamford Bridge now? The revolving door at the club has to stop at some point but is there a better time than now?

Zidane and Lampard have been linked with Chelsea right now but I really don’t see why they would take it up right now.

As far as I know, Zidane is just waiting for the call from Juventus and that is why he rejected Manchester United too – a club that was willing to give him a huge transfer budget on joining. And that is not something Chelsea are willing to offer right now!

Moreover, if Zidane is to come, he is always going to have an eye on the move to Juventus. Again, no long term planning can be done with him. One call from Juventus and he will be off to the Serie A side leaving Chelsea again on a managerial hunt.

As for Lampard, he has just begun his career at Derby County and is doing decently well. The last time Chelsea took a gamble with a new coach, he was sacked within 8 months! Not something they would think of once again, would they?

Lampard and Jody Morris are doing a fine job and the football they are playing at Derby County is nice to watch. But both of them are new to the big leagues and will need time to settle in. Will Chelsea ever give their managers time to settle in?


What happens if Chelsea back Sarri?

A long shot but still worth it. Looking at the things that have happened at Tottenham, Manchester City and even Liverpool when they have backed their managers, I cannot think why it can’t be replicated at Chelsea.

But for that, Chelsea board has to back the manager and get him the players he wants too. Pulisic is not a Sarri signing, nor are Kovacic and Kepa. Only Jorginho and Higuain are the players the manager has wanted and got.

So basically, if Sarri gets his players and things go well, Chelsea will be playing beautiful football and challenging for the title in a year or two. And that is worth the risk.


How to solve the issue at Chelsea right now?

The issue right now, in my honest opinion, is not the manager but the attitude of the players. Hazard can show all the attitude he wants because he is one of the best in the world but what have the others done to do the same? The only other player who can go up and tell Sarri what to do is Kante.

Nobody else in the squad has done anything to be treated in a better way and it should be made clear to them that they have to listen to the manager or pay for it.

The board need to back the manager either by giving him the players he needs or by giving him a year to get the youth into the team. Right now, no manager coming in at Chelsea will ever play the youth and the demand for instant success does not give them that liberty.


In conclusion, the Chelsea board and the fans need to realise that this is the ideal time for the club to think about the long-term future and not just the next couple of years. Yes, sacking the manager and getting a new one has always led to trophies but how long will this go on?

Sacking Sarri would take Chelsea back to square one and things will never improve. All the previous managers have blamed the players or the board, and it’s high time for the fans to realize that just getting a new manager won’t help.

So for now, until the end of next year, I’m going to remain #SarriIN as we need this rough patch to get things onto a different track. As long as there is a sign of progress, there is no question of a change needed.

Agree or disagree? Feel free to hit me up at @falsewinger on twitter.

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