Maurizio Sarri arrived at Chelsea after the club had acrimoniously parted ways with Antonio Conte. The latter had laid hands on the Premier League and the FA Cup in his two years at the helm. Thus, Sarri had a monumental task on his hand, trying to replace his countryman.
However, five months into the season, one can safely say that Sarri has adapted to the Premier League like a duck to water. Carrying forward his footballing philosophy from his Napoli days, the Italian has guided Chelsea to third place in the league table.
Apart from a loss to London rivals Tottenham, Chelsea have looked largely untroubled with draws against arch-rivals Manchester United and Liverpool and a victory against Arsenal.
Many believed that transitioning Chelsea from a hard-headed defensive approach under Conte to the free-flowing, attacking team Sarri craves would’ve been an arduous task. Yet, the Italian has gotten the team dancing to his tunes and the ‘Sarri Ball’ revolution seems to be well ahead of schedule.
Moreover, Sarri has individually helped players scale greater heights than they did previously. The Italian’s tactically astute nature and supreme man-management ability have helped Chelsea punch truly to its weight.
With Sarri having improved several players through his fledgeling tenure so far, a closer look at the players that have profited most from the Italian’s arrival is warranted.
Through this article, we would do exactly that and catch a glimpse of the most improved Chelsea players this season.
#5. David Luiz
The Brazilian left Chelsea in 2014 to ply his trade at Paris Saint-Germain. After a couple of title-winning seasons in Paris, he returned to London when Conte identified him as an important component in his machine.
Luiz enjoyed a superlative 2016-17 campaign as he powered Chelsea to the Premier League title. Playing in the middle of Conte’s ‘three at the back’ system, he performed admirably defensively while his ball-playing ability also came to the fore.
However, the next season wasn’t so fruitful as a rift with Conte led to the Brazilian being frozen out on the bench.
Having never been looked upon as a reliable option in a back four, Sarri’s imminent arrival seemed to spell doom for the Brazilian. However, the Italian worked his charm and propelled Luiz into a reliable defensive option.
Apart from a sluggish display against Tottenham, Luiz has looked solid and comfortable alongside Rudiger. Moreover, his passing ability has helped him gain an edge over the likes of Cahill and Christiansen.
While Luiz may still not be the complete package, he has come on in leaps and bounds since the arrival of Sarri. The Brazilian’s career seems to be on an upward curve and Sarri needs to be given due credit.