No Chelsea for Zizou!
Image: Martin Palazzotto, CC by NC-SA 4.0
Chelsea hired Maurizio Sarri at the beginning of the 2018/19 season. Many supporters harboured hopes that this would finally signal the end to the circus that had become their managerial recruitment. At first, all the signs were positive. The Italian started the season winning his first five Premier League games, suffering his first League defeat in late November to a ruthless Tottenham Hotspur side.
Since then things have rapidly headed south. Chelsea have lost three of their last four League games, including that 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City. Most recently they were outfought, losing 2-0, by a wounded Manchester United side reeling from their 2-0 humbling at the hands of Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Sarri did an excellent job with Napoli, but maybe a move to a club the size of Chelsea came a bit too soon. At Napoli, the ex-banker had full control of the reins, being able to do it his way or no way. In England however, he's found a much larger pond in the form of the Premier League.
Sarri has stuck to his style of player rarely prepared to deviate from what he thinks is the winning formula. Chelsea has been criticised for their lack of attacking play during the season, but for all his plaudits as an attacking minded manager. Choosing to play with two defensively minded players, namely N'golo Kante and Jorginho, week-in-week-out doesn't help his cause.
At the same time Sarri has preferred to play Kante further forward, a man who is arguably the best central defensive midfielder in the World. In doing that he has not only hampered The Blues in an attacking sense, he has also proven his inability to see a way other than his own. Recently though, he has sought to provide a bit more clarity on this specific decision.
In that position, I want a player able to move the ball very fast. This is not the best characteristic of N'golo. N'golo is very useful for us, but this one is not his best characteristic.
With the crowd turning against Sarri during their FA Cup loss at the weekend, the end seems inevitable for the Italian with Roman Abramovich not known to be very forgiving. No matter how far the exit door is down the road, the rumour mill will keep working. It has already been in overdrive touting Zinedine Zidane as the next heir to the managerial hot seat. An appointment that, in my opinion, would be a bad one.
At Real Madrid, Zidane had some of the worlds best players at their peak. Not to take anything away from the Frenchman, he did win a league title as well as three Champions League crowns on the trot, but one could argue any manager with decent man management skills and a sprinkle of luck could've pulled that off; considering the crop of players he had at his disposal.
In the Premier League, just a good man manager won't cut it. A certain tactical nous is needed when plying your trade weekly against the likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and company. Before taking over the first team, Zidane had been put in charge of Real Madrid's Castilla side. During that time, Zidane failed to secure promotion with them, leaving them to stew in Segunda B.
Zidane may well be a very good coach but in my opinion, he still lacks on the tactical side of things, a side that can only be developed with experience. What Chelsea need now is a proven winner, one who has withstood the test of time. The Blues faithful won't have liked to see the sight of Manchester City and Liverpool being so far ahead in recent years and will be looking for immediate success with their next managerial appointment. One that I don't think will come with Zidane...