Maurizio Sarri is saying all the right things after his team’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham. He recognises the need for improvement. The question is, will he actually make the necessary changes to the team?
There are several players who do not suit Sarri’s style of football who he persists with. There are players who are more suitable who he does not play regularly.
Sarri’s style is fundamentally about cohesiveness and connections between the attacking players. All of this needs to happen at great speed.
Cesar Azpilicueta is not suited to this style. He has lost some pace, he is uncomfortable in possession high up the pitch and he does not overlap on the outside. Davide Zappacosta is quick, technically sound and a willing outside runner. He should be playing.
Ruben Loftus Cheek should also be playing. This is his season to prove that he is good enough for Chelsea’s midfield. He is more suited to Sarri’s system than both Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley who both play far more than Loftus Cheek. There is no way that Loftus Cheek would have performed worse tactically and defensively than all three midfielders yesterday. Going forward, he is the best of the lot.
Pedro is infinitely better in Sarri’s system than Willian. He runs in behind, combines well and offers a threat on his left and right foot.
Olivier Giroud links up very well with his attackers. His one touch play, especially with Eden Hazard, is telepathic. He needs to play over Alvaro Morata who is an inconsistent individual playing in a system reliant on combination play.
Perhaps this is the defeat to prompt Sarri to make the changes that, ultimately, would help the team meet his expectations more quickly.