Reflections From Sarri-Ball’s Chelsea
Beaten 2-0 in the Community Shield by a tactically superior Manchester City side, all eyes were on Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea as they took on Huddersfield Town. A managerial genius whose style of play gained the admiration of all, Maurizio Sarri is definitely bent on laying claim to the Premier League title in order to dispel the highly fueled perception that his beautifully crafted attacking brand of football cannot win him laurels.
Below are some reflections from Chelsea’s well-deserved 3-0 victory:
ALVARO MORATA, STILL SHORT OF CONFIDENCE
In the third minute, Morata dribbled his way past 2 Huddersfield defenders and went 1 v 1 Hamer……..His tame effort went wide of the right post but he was luckily saved by the linesman’s offside flag. The lack of conviction behind that effort only brought to full glare Morata’s shortcoming – a lack of confidence.
A review of Napoli sheds light on how Sarri wants his team to play. In the first half, there were a lot of horizontal passes from Chelsea’s players, a stark contrast to Sarri’s preferred playing philosophy of vertical passes.
The build up to Jorginho’s beautifully converted penalty kick is a testament to how Chelsea will play when they fully grasp Sarri’s idea of football. We also saw Chelsea execute more of the vertical passes in the second half.
KANTE’S ADVANCED ROLE
A fundamental of Sarri-Ball is the presence of a ball-playing holding midfielder. In Jorginho, Chelsea solved that jigsaw. In effect, Kante has been moved to a more advanced role; the right-side of a three man midfield. With a goal to his name, it is hoped that Kante’s name will be seen on the score sheet more often.
THE RIGHT TEMPO
Sarri bemoaned Chelsea’s lack of quick ball movement in that defeat to City. In the first half, Chelsea followed suit as they moved the ball slowly. However, in the second half, Chelsea improved tremendously as they passed the ball quicker and played with an increased tempo. Of course, Chelsea’s victory/defeat in subsequent games will ball down to the tempo with which they play.
CHELSEA’S NARROW SHAPE
Any time Huddersfield seemed to threaten, it was from the wide areas. This is primarily because Chelsea’s players played narrow, an initiative of Sarri. With series of games to come, Chelsea will have to ensure that their narrow shape doesn’t hurt them during games.
EDEN HAZARD IS FREE
Hazard had to endure ‘mixed-seasons’ under two primarily defensive managers; Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. After his cameo in the 76th minute, a blue print of what lies ahead emerged. Hazard roamed the entire length of the pitch, a fee man, not burdened with any extra defensive responsibilities. He notched up an assist as he set up Pedro for Chelsea’s third goal. It isn’t far stretched to say that Hazard is set to have his best season in a Chelsea shirt.
WHERE DOES VICTOR MOSES FIT IN?
Moses isn’t a defender and with Chelsea’s array of attacking talent [Hazard, Pedro, Willian, Hudson-Odoi], it is very difficult to see how Moses fits into Sarri’s plans.
IT IS STILL A WORK-IN-PROGRESS
Is anyone adamant that Chelsea needs time to adapt to Maurizio Sarri’s style of play?
ROSS BARKLEY NEEDS TO SEIZE THE DAY
Barkley had a quiet game in the community shield and was largely unimpressive in today’s game. He needs to offer more whenever he gets the chance to play because he is definitely better than what he did today!!