Chelsea’s new system is great for Eden Hazard but leaves Maurizio Sarri’s side vulnerable at the back
- Chelsea’s style under Maurizio Sarri is enabling Eden Hazard to thrive
- Winning the ball high up the pitch is perfect for the likes of Hazard and Willian
- However, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso are vulnerable defensively
Chelsea have surprised me massively. I didn’t have them in my top four. Maurizio Sarri had come in late, the team had to learn a new system, there was talk of Willian and Eden Hazard leaving, and David Luiz had been frozen out. So Sarri must be an excellent man-manager.
The whole club have a smile on their face again, with Hazard flying. Little things count. Sarri changed the training schedule so players can drop their kids off at school.
Training has been a breath of fresh air. In my experience, players love working hard. Some of my favourite days were the hardest sessions where everyone is at it.
Eden Hazard is thriving for Chelsea as a consequence of Maurizio Sarri’s tactics
Under Antonio Conte, I think it had become: ‘Turn up: stand here; when they get the ball, move here.’ By the end it looked as though the players were sick of it.
Tactically, there is of course a difference but I don’t think we’ve seen the full version of Sarri’s high press yet. Winning the ball high up the pitch is perfect for the likes of Hazard and Willian; two passes and they’re in.
One reason Sarri may be holding back on the high press right now is the defensive frailties. What Conte’s back three did so well for Chelsea was give them stability.
While Sarri’s style has its benefits, it also leaves Chelsea rather vulnerable defensively
With a back four, there is more risk. Luiz and Marcos Alonso are vulnerable. I’m not convinced it is a solid back four.
Alonso is wonderful getting forward. Playing wing back under Conte gave him the protection he now lacks. It’s the same for Luiz.
I feel also that they miss N’Golo Kante in that screening role in front of the defence. If Sarri can get a tune out of Luiz and protect Alonso, I think they’re heading for the top four. At some point, they could run into trouble.