It is difficult to discuss how good and bad Chelsea’s previous season was. Despite winning the FA Cup, their league season was extremely disappointing ultimately missing out on the Champions League therefore, costing Antonio Conte his job. However, at times during the season they showed why they were the defending champions, but this wasn’t often enough consequently costing them severely. Due to their poor season and off field issues, Chelsea begin yet another new season with a new manager. The very much unknown Maurizio Sarri, the unfancied Italian who despite his various jobs, has yet to really gain any success in terms of silverware and this will be an issue for the Chelsea fans because they will expect silverware every single season and Sarri despite his exciting style of play, he has yet to reap the rewards. However, could this finally be his year for success only time will tell.
Chelsea’s title winning season was certainly ignited on a change of formation implemented by Conte and this solid foundation of a back 3 changing to a 5 when defending was pinnacle in their success as well as N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic anchoring the defence. However, the previous season wasn’t as successful with their defensive solidity disappearing with captain Gary Cahill struggling to get in the team and David Luiz barely being seen in the matchday squad. Furthermore, the disappointing displays and mistakes from their new acquisitions like Antonio Rudiger and the returning Andreas Christensen means Chelsea were very inconsistent defensively. However, another key component in Chelsea’s success was Nemanja Matic and his sale was the beginning of Chelsea’s disappointing season with replacement Tiemoue Bakayoko having a nightmare debut season. Maurizio Sarri will be assessing his defence and midfield following their disappointing seasons as a collective. However, with Conte and Sarri having deferring styles, Chelsea’s defenders and midfielders will be worrying further as to whether they are part of Sarri’s plans in the new season. Despite this, Chelsea’s usual talents the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro were relatively consistent and were always a threat despite their season being relatively flat and I’m sure Sarri will aim to keep all three of his creators. Sarri will aim to bring consistency to the whole club because the constant change in management is difficult for any fans but it is the reality of modern football with more owners like Roman Abramovich wanting success season after season.
Maurizio Sarri has had an interesting career in management and arguably his successes have been in his previous two jobs Empoli and Napoli. He brought excitement to both clubs and a style of football which entertained fans and brought a never say die attitude to their clubs and he hope to implement these ideas at Chelsea. He sparkled in Naples bring the best out of players like Dries Mertens, Marek Hamsik and Jorginho who has coincidently followed him to Stamford Bridge. He regularly brought Champions League football to Naples and he will hope to bring this success and style to Stamford Bridge. However, for all his positives, he has frequently been in trouble with the Italian FA for his comments and behaviour and this will concern the Chelsea hierarchy and fans alike, so he will have to quickly learn to curb his comments to have any success in the English game. Despite this, the unfancied, chain-smoking Italian will hope to make a big statement in the English game and with admirers such as Pep Guardiola, he will desperately to make his mark and create a dominant force in West London.
Sarri will take time to assess his squad for the new season but he will be targeting players who know his philosophy and style such as Jorginho and who he believes can play to his style. He will be assessing all areas and has been linked with various defenders, midfielders and attackers. Chelsea certainly need a consistent goal scorer with goals drying up for Alvaro Morata and limited appearances for Olivier Giroud. I’m sure Sarri will assess Michy Batshuayi after his excellent loan spell at Borussia Dortmund. In addition, he will be looking at all his midfielders after a collective poor season all round and signing Jorginho instantly suggests his intentions. However, Sarri will be desperate to keep star players like Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois with both seeming to suggest their futures lie elsewhere and it would be extremely difficult to replace both, but the pull of giant European clubs may be hard to resist.
Chelsea will hope a change in management and playing style will put them back amongst Europe’s best because simply they must make the Champions League at whatever cost by the end of the season. This is certainly the bare minimum Chelsea fans will expect and they hope Chelsea can mount a serious title challenge but with the strength of both Manchester clubs and Liverpool, this may be difficult in Sarri’s first season, but they are not out of the race completely because they have players that have been there and done it on several occasions. Chelsea fans will hope this new era under Sarri will bring success and the West London club back on the European map but also brings consistency to the whole football club.