Tactical Lesson – Sarrismo Style

Dear my Fellow Chelsea Fans,

It’s been a rough couple of months and I get it. Sarri Ball hasn’t been what we’ve expected, the team hasn’t been performing to our reckoning. I know. Well, GROW UP. After witnessing a few #SarriOut tweets I really wonder If we are all watching the same team or the Twitter Timeline. Inheriting a team coming off the back of 5th last season isn’t an easy task, especially with your 1st choice striker being Alvaro Morata. I am not one to accept mediocrity in my team, but I see Sarri’s vision and I stand by it. Instead of looking at it face value let’s take a tactical walk through it.

The Jorghino Conundrum – El Jefe. 

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“How many assists has he got this season? Around 2000 passes, no assists,” Rio Ferdinand

Rio, I love him dearly. Yes he has a point and yes he knows the game better than most, however you gotta think past the assists son. Since 2014 Jorghino has racked up a total of 17 Assists, so what on Earth makes you think assists should define the strength of his DLP role? We often hear our pundits call out for Kante to be re-positioned in Jorginho’s spot. How many assists has Kante made from a holding position? Defensively, Jorginho is not the greatest, we’ve seen this come to light against Tottenham, Arsenal and Leicester however he controls the game. Making 2000 passes isn’t a stat that should be over looked or belittled. He keeps us in possession, he delivers the correct passes for us to obtain possession. Currently, I loathe our possession stats. Having 70% possession with 1 goal on the score sheet is ridiculous, however with the correct set of players we could graft 3, 4 or 5 goals in a game. Don’t sleep on the kid ! Think about it, why do teams focus on stopping Jorginho? When he is pocketed why do we play worse? He’s the catalyst!  Yes, If Jorginho wasn’t here Kante would resume a more defensive position, but is his current role so different to the Kante of old?

The Bante Saga

“Playing the best holding midfielder on the left… it’s like playing Alan Shearer as a winger!” Tony Cascarino

No, it’s not a typo by the way. Ngolo Kante, arguably every Chelsea fan’s favourite player; in fact, arguably the worlds favourite footballer. Not only is he sharp defensively, he is also a loving character. A 2 in 1 player, a defensive force,  an attacking force… a BOX TO BOX MIDFIELDER. I know, blasphemy! But it’s true. I fell victim to this debate, believing Kante solely assumed the role of a Defensive/Holding midfielder. Even though most still consider him as a DM, is his new attacking role so bad? Let’s think about Sarri-ball objectively. Forget about Conte’s 3-4-3, Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1, just envision Sarri’s 4-3-3. With Jorginho in front of our defence already, would it be practical to have Kante next to him? Remember the aim of Sarrismo is retrieving the ball, pressing high and playing on the attack. Jorginho being a permanent resident in Sarrismo will always be central to making the passes whether going forward or sideways, it would be rather impractical to have someone who is constantly defending when we are constantly pressing. The manager said it himself, Kante is not “technical” enough to play centrally for his attacking style and he is not wrong. Sarri is simply exploiting the fact that Kante can do both ! He can retrieve the ball and attack the opposition! We’re just to stubborn to adapt and accept his new role. Bunch of babies.

#AlonsoOUT

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This is where it gets interesting. Phenomenal Wingback. Him on the wing meant mistakes were covered by our back 3 and of course Kante. Now that there’s nobody for him to depend on we have unlocked his uselessness as a Left Back. Why isn’t this talked about enough? Ok, for those that don’t know, Sarri is particular about playing most of his attack through the Left. At Napoli Insigne (left winger) achieved more goals and created more chances than Jose Callejon (right wing), though both wingers were equally as effective. Why Sarri prefers this ? I haven’t a clue. So, what does attacking through the left got to do with Alonso, and surely if we’re attacking on the left our right could be exploited? Read carefully and closely my friends. Alonso. Is. A. Bum. No I’m just kidding. I like the guy, think he’s cool but he is our Achilles heel.

“oUr rIgHt cAn B3 3XpL0iTeD”. First of all, we have Willian, who is arguably strong enough to win 1 v 1s and retreive the ball. We also have Azpilucueta who in himself has proven solid in defence  and to top it off there’s Kante accompanying them both on the resistance… Who would want to enforce an attack against them? On the left you have Eden Hazard, try not to lose the ball against him; once you get past him you’re faced with a bouregoining Kovacic aka recycle crew. 50/50 chance that he will retrieve the ball but if he doesn’t the final level is Alonso. Lord knows, I’ll take that left route all day! That’s why we constantly see teams going for our left side! Defensively Alonso is not the best, attacking he is also not the best. As a complete left back, he is absolute air and we all know it. The job of vigoursly attacking and defending is getting to him and it shows in his crosses. Emerson on the other hand? Golden boy. Hence why Sarri refuses to sell him.

Alonso starting is merely to put a patch over the calamity upfront. Having reverted to the False 9 role for Eden Hazard, we are missing a presence upfront. Someone tall and built, someone to head the ball in from crosses. If Alonso isn’t making the crosses, he may as well be in the box when Azpilucueta or Willian is because if he’s not there, who are we crossing the ball too? Don’t see it? Watch the replay of Arsenal vs Chelsea second half. I almost spit out my drink laughing at Alonso in the box. Once a striker comes in which for now will be Higuain, Alonso won’t see the lights of the Premier League.

David Luiz, Meu Capitão

 

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I’ll keep this short and sweet. Sunday 5th of May 2013, 89 minutes up David Luiz is fouled and Rafael is sent off. Luiz tumbles on the floor, he cracks a smile. This is the day David Luiz became my captain. Seriously, the guy is a personal favourite of mine. He may make some defensive errors once in a while, and he is known for his brainless strides forward on the attack however he is pivotal to the Sarrismo defence. The left centre back of Napoli, Koulibaly had recieved the highest of accolades last season. His strength and composure on the ball is to be admired, but his role in making exquisite passes from the back line warrants the applause. The same thing Luiz has shown us he is capable of doing with his assists vs Crystal Palace and Newcastle. His strength too is also undeniable.

So… Sarri-ball

I mean, it’s all well and good following what those say on twitter and riding the band wagon and it is ironic for me to write this in the hopes of you all jumping on my bandwagon so read the game for yourself. Be patient; not just with Sarri but with his choice of players. Jorginho isn’t going anywhere, Kante isn’t going to play a more defensive role. MOVE ON. Stop living in our past. We have won enough trophies with our strong defensive tactics, but attacking football is our future. Although it’s frustrating to watch us obtain all of this possession, reminisce on the the bleak moments of last season when we hardly saw the ball at all.

Thanks for attending my TedTalks.

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