It would’ve been a crazy suggestion earlier in the season to say Malang Sarr should start against Manchester City, but Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel should put faith in him tomorrow ahead of the trip to the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea travel to Man City Saturday lunchtime for a Premier League fixture, as they bid to cut the 10-point deficit to them.
The Blues are second in the league right now top of the chasing pack that are trying to bridge the gap to runaway leaders City.
For Tuchel, he knows his recent record against Pep Guardiola’s men is decent. However, it feels like a must-win game if there is to be any title race from now until the end of the season.
Sarr deserves huge Chelsea opportunity
Sarr, 22, was a surprise inclusion to many when he was kept around the first-team squad this season rather than sent out on loan again. He spent time out on loan with Porto after originally signing for Chelsea in 2020, so this is his first year actually playing in front of Blues fans.
The French defender has mainly acted as a fringe player and been patient waiting for his chance.
He’s a left-footed centre-back that’s now played eight games in all competitions this season, including in both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham. Incidentally, Tuchel was left praising him for his individual display in the first leg last week.
There has definitely been an improvement in his displays as he gets more minutes on the pitch, and he’s proven to be a valuable member of the group at Stamford Bridge.
His reward should come tomorrow away to Man City, which would be the biggest game of his brief Chelsea career so far.
Back three needed
There must be a temptation tomorrow to use a back four because both centre-halves Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah are unavailable. However, the Blues are best with a 3-4-3 system and it’s got the better of Man City in the past.
Sarr should slot in as the left-sided centre-back position this weekend to complete the defence next to experienced figures Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger.
Definitely, Sarr would be under a new kind of pressure against a world-class opposition in Man City.
He’s a strong and quick defender that’s done enough in recent months to show he’s ready for more opportunities, though.
It will say a lot about where he is at as a player if he can come through the test at the Etihad, so Chelsea should give him the chance to swim in the deep end.