Chelsea's games and lineups are too predictable; Sarri needs to evolve
How things are looking at the Bridge
Chelsea’s recent form has seen manager Sarri come under a lot of fire. There has been a lot of speculation suggesting that the Italian’s job might be on the line. Given the strong start the Blues had at the beginning of the season, one might wonder how things got to be the way they are currently.
Conceding 12 goals in three games is cause for worry especially for a team contending for silverware and Champions League qualification. It raises questions not only about tactics but also team spirit and player commitment.
Looking back in time, during Mourinho’s first spell at the club, Chelsea were winning by phenomenal margins. Beating opponents by six goals used to be as normal for the Blues as it currently is for the Citizens. With the financial backing and the quality of players at the Bridge, the fans are justified to demand more than what they are seeing at the moment.
The coaching staff under Maurizio need to adapt to the EPL fast if the manager wishes to save his job. While having a football philosophy gives the team an identity, a style of play needs time to develop and also has to evolve. Sarri ought to be more flexible than he is right now.
Some ideas for the manager might be:
#1 More squad rotation
Compared to Manchester United and Manchester City, it is so easy to predict Chelsea’s starting eleven in the league games. Being predictable means that your opponents are always prepared for what you are going to do and they will give you a hard time.
Sarri has made it clear that Jorginho is the axis of his style of football. This means that every other team will work towards shutting down Jorginho to disrupt Chelsea’s attacking play and ball retention.
The manager should try other midfielders in the CDM position. Playing Kante in this role wouldn’t hurt as it would introduce the much-needed solidity in the mid. This is a player who has proven to be more adaptive than any other individual on the team.
Ampadu is another promising player who can play as a holding midfielder. First, he has experience playing in both midfield and backline. He is also young and composed on the ball.
Using Drinkwater once in a while together with Kante would be a smart tactical decision. Playing the two behind a classic number ten could provide more fluidity in the mid and allow attacking players to advance centrally rather than using the flanks all the time.
#2 Change Formations
Like mentioned before, playing Kante and Drinkwater will influence the overall formation during play. The manager can still maintain his philosophy under a different setup. This allows his style of play to evolve and accommodate more players.
What makes football great is how it is played, thus dubbed the beautiful game. Being able to surprise your opponents is a quality shown by some of the best managers in the world.