Chelsea fans has been excited with the appointment of Sarri since he was unveiled, the excitement comes from the belief that he will change the way Chelsea has been playing for the past couple of years and changes has already been seen with Sarri switching Chelsea to a 4-3-3 formation, the quick passing and press which they call #SarriBall. The game against City in the community shield gave us a real insight into how Sarri will lineup Chelsea and how they will adapt and play top teams with their new system even thou there were notable absentees like Hazard and Kante (The backbone of the team), but bulk of the first team were present with new signing Jorginho at the heart of the midfield. Manchester City proved too strong for them in the end but there were positives gotten from the game and some few negatives going into the new season. Positives:
Chelsea players seemed relaxed with the new pattern of play and look open to the ideas of the coach
They were able to control the tempo of certain parts of the game against a great City midfield (should be noted that D.Silva and KDB were absent)
Pedro, Morata, V.Moses has so far shown that they are not good enough to take Chelsea to the level they want with this new pattern of play. Morata has been unsurprisingly disappointing but there is a huge possibility of him regaining his form that saw him bag goals during his time at Madrid and Juventus.
Alonso defensively is poor, he is not pacey and lacks proper positioning, any decent winger will have him for dinner but his attacking technique is what is keeping him in the first team setup. Rudiger is prone to mistakes but his long range passing and vision is decent for a CB, Sarri will like that a lot.
With the signing of Kovacic and Kepa will bring a new feel to the team, Courtois leaving is good because his open desire to leave the club left some bad vibes in the dressing room and the club as a whole. Kepa who is a little inexperienced and an average goal keeper (in my opinion) but from the little I have seen over the past two seasons, he has grown, he is calm on the ball and his ball distribution is actually decent but nothing special about him. He is young and has a lot of time to develop to be one of the best goal keepers in the world. Kovacic will slot in perfectly in the midfield forming a deadly partnership with Jorginho and Kante. The trio when fully adapted to each other will be so dangerous, with Jorginho controlling the flow of the game and distributing play, Kovacic playing in between the lines and Kante more of a box-box player, the power house of the midfield and intercepting play. This Chelsea team looks balanced, within a month or two they should have clicked and be a force to reckon with in the EPL but the only problem is that they need a 30+ goals per season striker, Morata has not shown that he can achieve this but he will be evaluated at the end of the season. A new manager can bring the best out of him. I personally will like to see Hazard assume the false nine positions with Barkley and Willian playing through the wings cutting inside to linkup with Hazard.
A look at Chelsea lineup next season (in my opinion): KepaAzpilicueta Luiz Rudiger Alonso Kante Jorginho KovacicWillian Hazard Barkley My Prediction for Chelsea:
I don’t think Chelsea will finish in the top four of the EPL this season because we have more balanced teams in City, United, Liverpool and Spurs who will fight for the title and eventually the top 4 slots, Chelsea playing Thursday night football and traveling to the edge of Europe will really affect the team unless Sarri decides to use the second team to execute Europa games keeping his first team fresh for the league then they may have a fighting chance.