Why Chelsea Must Sack Maurizio Sarri Before The League Cup Final
It now appears to be a question of 'when', not 'if', Chelsea will sack Maurizio Sarri.
The defending champions were booted out of the FA Cup last night after sinking to a 2-0 defeat at home to a Manchester United.
A couple of months ago the Blues may well have won the fixture, however Sarri’s stutterers have been on a severe downward spiral in 2019 and are now a shadow of the side that inflicted a first league defeat upon Man City in December - in contrast, a rejuvenated Man Utd have yet to lose a single one of their dozen domestic fixtures under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
In the flick of a switch United have leapfrogged Chelsea in the league - turning an 11 point deficit into a one point advantage - and chucked them out of the FA Cup. The Red Devils have Solskjaer to thank for that.
‘Sarri-ball’ has burst and Chelsea need to act fast ahead of a pivotal week which includes a return Europa League last-32 fixture against Malmo, swiftly followed by a League Cup final against Man City.
As brutal as it sounds, Chelsea must make a managerial change right now. The Londoners should beat Malmo on Thursday regardless of who is in charge, but there’s absolutely no chance of the club conjuring up an upset against Pep Guardiola’s City juggernaut with Sarri at the helm.
Yes, the Italian did stun the Citizens a couple of months ago, but a lot has changed since then. City got revenge with a a 6-0 annihilation nine days ago - Chelsea’s worst ever Premier League defeat - which came after a 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth, with the club yet to win a domestic away fixture this year, or even score a goal on the road.
Chelsea have lost five of their last 10 games in all competitions, more than they’d lost in the first 32 matches under Sarri, which included a remarkable 18 game unbeaten run. The balloon has popped and Chelsea are now in danger of slumping out of three cup competitions in a week.
Few expect Chelsea to conjure up a victory over City this weekend, but would they be in a better position to lift the cup if Sarri wasn’t in charge?
Fans have turned on Sarri, a likeable man, but one who is clearly struggling. "F*** Sarri-ball" was bellowed out during the United game, with videos now doing the rounds on social media.
"I am worried about the results. Not about the fans,” said Sarri after the game.
“I think so. Of course I am not sure, but I think so,” revealed the Italian after he was asked whether the players are behind him. Hardly convincing.
Sarri’s system evidently isn’t working, while the players look confidence crushed and frustrated.
Just look at Man Utd’s abrupt transformation under Solskjaer. The Norwegian, a surprise appointment, swatted away the doom and gloom of the Jose Mourinho era, put smiles on faces, arms around shoulders, and made a few tactical tweaks. He’s since won 11 of his 13 games, and looks to have bagged the full-time position.
The question is, who would replace Sarri?
Zinedine Zidane continues to be hotly linked, as does Frank Lampard, but should Chelsea axe Sarri then it’s Gianfranco Zola who is likely to be trusted in the short-term as emergency cover. His managerial record is questionable, but he’s a club legend and given the lack of alternatives the assistant boss could be asked to step up to the plate on a temporary basis.
You simply can’t rule out Roman Abramovich turning to fond friend Guus Hiddink for a third time. The Dutchman excelled first time around, leading the club to FA Cup glory, before steadying the ship following Mourinho’s exit. He could well add the League Cup to his collection should he get the call this week.