After the defeat against Arsenal yesterday, a lot of people have been quick to point out the passiveness of the squad. I stumbled upon Jonathan Wilson’s post-match write-up in the Guardian.
Wilson makes a fine point about the mismatch of the squad of players and the manager. Some of it is a little lazy I think – declaring that David Luiz and Azpilicueta are emphatically 3-at-the-back players is a bit of an easy point to make in hindsight, when only one manager has ever played either of them in such a system – but a lot of Chelsea’s players do seem better suited to a 3-4-3, and it is certainly the case that Chelsea have been performing poorly for far too long now.
Sarri-ball is thrilling to watch when well-implemented, but the constant changes in managers – and, more importantly, mangers’ playing style – at Chelsea make it difficult to assemble a squad that can carry a playing style out. As Wilson says, ‘Chelsea’s squad has actually over the years proved remarkably accommodating to change, at times seems almost to have thrived on chaos’, but it seems it may have finally started to buckle.
I like Sarri’s style, and I hope he can get Chelsea playing that way. But if he’s having a hard time motivating this group of players, maybe he should have a look at his available alternatives.