3 tactical alterations Maurizio Sarri should make before Manchester City game
Maurizio Sarri has done a terrific job at Chelsea. The West London club has rapidly undertaken a change in philosophy and approach since his arrival. This change from a defensive and at times reactive philosophy to a more proactive one in a short space of time has seen him heralded by other top coaches like Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp, speaking about Chelsea's vastly different approach under Sarri, said;
“The biggest change I ever saw in such a short space of time. Wow. Style completely different. What a manager he is, to be honest. I’m pretty much a supporter of his since I saw him at Naples. Outstanding football, and now doing it in a very interrupted pre-season. Eden (Hazard) was not there, Giroud, Kante. Starting the season and you see immediately the impact? All my respect. It’s really good to watch. Good job so far.”
However, in recent weeks the Sarri revolution has hit a rough patch. Goalless draws at West Ham and Everton coupled with defeat to Wolves and Tottenham have left Sarri in need of a big performance to raise confidence levels ahead of the busiest fixture schedule in the Premier League.
Chelsea face Manchester City next and a bad result will continue their poor form into this frenetic Christmas schedule.
Here's a look at three tactical changes Sarri should make to ensure a positive result in the City game on Saturday:
#1 Drop Alonso and play Azpilicueta at left-back
Marcos Alonso is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League. His inclusion in recent squad lists for the Spanish national team has shown that he is recognized as such at the international level.
He has been a constant menace for Chelsea down the left flank in the past two seasons. He already has a goal and three assists to his name this season.
The problem with Alonso lies in his lack of positional awareness and tendency to drift so far away from the back four. This weakness was exploited by Manchester United and Tottenham to score vital goals against Chelsea this season.
Raheem Sterling is the City player most likely to feature in the right wing position against Chelsea. Sterling has caused better defensive full-backs all sorts of problems this season. His pace and trickery have seen him score eight goals and assist a further six this season. Pep could also unleash any of Bernardo Silva, Mahrez or Sane in that position as well.
For Chelsea to contain the left side of their defense, Sarri should replace Alonso with Azpilicueta. Left back is not a new position to Azpilicueta who held down Chelsea's left back spot for years before the arrival of Marcos Alonso and is a better defender than Alonso. Zappacosta could be drafted in at right back to do a job for the Blues.