Thursday February 21 2019
Sarri-Chelsea split inevitable

Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea seem destined to separate before too long, in a blaze of regret and recrimination. Andrew Tuft asks how could it end any other way…

Both Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri should have known what they were getting into when the ex-Napoli Coach was appointed by the Premier League club last summer. Sarri was joining an organisation that goes through trainers at a dizzying rate, while Chelsea were appointing a tactician with distinct ideas on how football should be played.

It’s been reported that Sarri will be out of a job if Chelsea don’t beat Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final on Sunday. A quick look at the odds shows the task the London club are facing - City are overwhelming favourites, odds-on, and while sports betting is not an exact science, it underscores the challenge. It’s a one-off game and Chelsea are no slouches - their disappointing League placing of sixth is still only a point off the top four - but City can be rampant and were so the last time the teams met, earlier in February.

Less than a year into their relationship, is it any wonder Chelsea and Sarri seem on the brink of separating? Chelsea have, in spite of, or perhaps because of, their rapid turnover of Coaches, achieved success at regular intervals in the Roman Abramovich years. While Sarri inherited a different generation of players than the ones who achieved success in Jose Mourinho’s first tenure, a number of his squad was part of Mourinho’s second generation, which won the title in 2014-15, and the Antonio Conte group of 2016-17. 

Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas, Willian and Eden Hazard all played under Mourinho in 2014-15, Conte in 2016-17 and Sarri in 2018-19. More players again won the title with Conte and were still on the books when Sarri took over. Sarri, with a vaunted reputation but no tangible medals to show for the acclaim, came in and implemented a completely new style of play. When results were positive, it was easy to keep the senior players on-side. When they were less so, it’s easy to see how the trophy-laden veterans could question Sarri’s methods and his authority.

The 6-0 trouncing by City was probably Chelsea’s nadir under Sarri - either that or losing 4-0 at Bournemouth in late January - and a far cry from the 18 games unbeaten in all competitions between August and November. The football Sarri’s Chelsea produced in that unbeaten run was widely praised, and the Coach was given credit for getting more from Hazard than Conte had managed to in his final days at Stamford Bridge. Since then, Sarri has been criticised for not deviating from his plan - and Hazard hasn’t been quite so outstanding.

But criticising Sarri for not changing his approach is as pointless as criticising Chelsea if they do dispense with the 60-year-old in the near future. It’s what they do - Sarri’s teams try to play enterprising football, no matter what, and Chelsea sack Coaches that don’t deliver trophies, no matter what. The Carabao Cup might provide a stay of execution but Sarri and Chelsea was a union always destined to end prematurely. Both parties are too stubborn for it to be any other way.

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Have your say...
@Abidzaroma Did you like Chelsea's Conte press conferences??
on the 24th February, 2019 at 10:03pm
Sarri, "The Master tactician" according to the establishment propaganda, but in fact he is just like Benitez, a failed conceited ego tripper who broke the carriers of many brilliant players, Zapata, Gabbiadini, Giaccherini, Rog, Tonelli,unfirly treated Mertens for as long as he was in charge and gave him a stigma that equates him to Insigne, where as any one with a bit of brains can see that Mertens is 3 times better, So Sarri you get what you deserve, you lost us a 3 scudetti, justice is done.
on the 23rd February, 2019 at 3:01pm
@a varsavia I want Conte
on the 23rd February, 2019 at 11:51am
You prefer Allegri's complaints for his wins?
on the 23rd February, 2019 at 1:03am
@a varsavia hell no, he's not the coach Roma needs. Sarri may play so-called beautiful football but his lack of trust in local players esp the younger ones will definitely trigger the departure of Florenzi, Pellegrini or even Zaniolo.
And I just can't stand his complains for his defeats.
on the 22nd February, 2019 at 11:54pm
Welcome to Roma :-)
on the 22nd February, 2019 at 4:00pm
The guy was doomed from the start. He has never won anything in his entire managerial career. What exactly was he supposed to do here, where there is even more pressure, from an unreasonable owner....??? Never been a Sarri fan, but I do feel sorry for him.
on the 22nd February, 2019 at 7:43am
chelsea is like a den of vipers run by the players it is hardly surprising it hasn't worked out for sarri just that it was over so quickly i thought he might last for the rest of the season that now seem unlikely.

It just to be somewhat function when you had regular performers like lampard drogba terry cole essien carvalho and makelele who ran that team on the field. Who one knows who is in charge at chelsea and there is a complete lack of leadership at this football team.
on the 21st February, 2019 at 10:11pm
But wait a minute didn’t you guys write in like November that Chelsea weren’t playing well but they got the results. Now you are contradicting yourself by saying they were playing well.
on the 21st February, 2019 at 6:40pm
Hey Maurizio, you got fired lately,

so it's not that crazy,

it won't be so terrible to coach in Serie B,

because it would suit you, maybe?
on the 21st February, 2019 at 5:12pm

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