Sarri ball, transfer activities and more: Three positives Chelsea can draw from Sarri’s reign so far


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Three positives Chelsea can draw from Maurizio Sarri’s reign so far

After a disappointing season under Antonio Conte last year which saw the Blues miss out on a Champions League spot, there was an air of expectancy at Stamford Bridge when former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri took over as the new manager.

Sarri had a good time managing Napoli in the Serie A but his failure to win trophies during his regime at the Naples raised a few eyebrows among the critics when the Italian was unveiled as the new face of Chelsea.

However, the Italian tactician has silenced his critics in a resounding manner, guiding the Blues to an unbeaten run in the Premier League twelve games into the season. In fact, Chelsea are the only team in the English top flight to remain unbeaten across all competitions so far.

With the kind of start that the Blues have made to their campaign this season, few can deny the fact that they are realistic contenders for the Premier League title.

As Chelsea continue to push the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table, let us take a look at a few positives that the Blues can draw from Maurizio Sarri’s reign so far.

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1. Change of Philosophy

Chelsea seem to have come a long way from discarding Antonio Conte’s counter-attacking style of play to adapting Maurizio Sarri’s free-flowing possession-based football. As evident from their performances this season, Chelsea have looked far more dominating than they were last season.

There were a lot of players in the squad who had struggled to comply with Conte’s counter-attacking style and Chelsea were at the receiving end of a few disappointing results even against some of the mid-table sides last season.

One of the key changes at the club has been a shift from Conte’s back-three system to Sarri’s regular back four, making the team a lot more secure at the back and allowing the full-backs to make overlapping runs at the same time.

Sarri’s philosophy of patient build-up play has worked wonders for the Blues, allowing them to stamp their authority by denying the opposition to get a touch of the ball.

Quite clearly, Chelsea are reaping the rewards of ‘Sarri Ball’.

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2. Transfer Activity

Maurizio Sarri had the backing of the club’s financial resources and he splashed the cash to snatch Jorginho, one of his key players back at his former club Napoli, from the grasp of Manchester City.

It seemed a bit of a gamble to spend £57 million on a Serie A based defensive midfielder but Jorginho has proven that he is a sine qua non for Sarri’s possession-based football.

Jorginho has not only established himself as one of the most prolific passers of the ball in the English top flight but has also played his part as a shield for the rearguard, thus allowing the likes of Ross Barkley and N’Golo Kante to adopt a more attacking role in midfield.

The decision to sign Mateo Kovacic on loan from Real Madrid has also worked in favour of the Blues. Irrespective of what the future holds for Kovacic, he has been a fantastic addition to enhance squad depth for this particular season.

Chelsea were left with a massive void to fill in the dying stages of the transfer window when Thibaut Courtois left the club and Sarri’s decision to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga has paid the dividends for the Blues. The Spaniard has been a reliable presence between the sticks, making some key saves and keeping six clean sheets in the Premier League.

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3. The resurgence of some existing players

David Luiz was one of the victims of Antonio Conte’s counter-attacking philosophy and the Brazilian found himself on the sidelines for large quarters in the 2017-18 season, frozen out of the first-team scheme of things by the Italian.

However, things have taken a complete turnaround for Luiz since the appointment of Sarri. The Brazilian has been reinstated in the first-team and has played every minute of Chelsea’s Premier League campaign so far, establishing himself as a key cog in the team’s backline alongside Antonio Rudiger.

And last but not the least, Sarri’s arrival has extracted the best out of Chelsea’s talisman Eden Hazard. Not only did Sarri play a big role in convincing the Belgian to stay at the club amidst interest from Real Madrid but has also helped him take his game to a new level at Stamford Bridge.

Read More:- Opinion: This £130,000-a-week star is what Chelsea need to solve their attacking woes

Sarri’s philosophy necessitates the players to keep possession of the ball and move forward with short, quick and incisive passes. The Italian’s philosophy lays a lot of emphasis on patient build-up play and demands the attackers to link effectively with each other to create openings in the final third.

Well, that ploy has really worked in favour of Eden Hazard and he currently leads the race for the Golden Boot with 7 goals and 4 assists to his name.

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