Major Reasons Why Maurizio Sarri Is Heading For The Sack Again At Chelsea

It's unlikely the next few days will see him gone, but the Italian remains a man on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge. He earned a repr...

It's unlikely the next few days will see him gone, but the Italian remains a man on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge.

He earned a reprieve by following up an improved performance in Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City on penalties with a big win over Tottenham last month.
But it has been mostly downhill since. The Blues were clinging on in their narrow 2-1 win at Fulham, swept aside a weak Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League and then drew 1-1 at home to Wolves.

Surrendering so meekly at Everton, where they hadn’t lost without scoring a goal for six years, meant only Fulham have lost more Premier League games away from home this calendar year.

It also meant Chelsea failed to capitalise on their game in hand and still sit sixth in the table when they could have leapfrogged Manchester United to go level on points with Arsenal.

If Sarri cannot get his team back in the Champions League, either with a fourth-placed finish or by winning the Europa League, it is almost impossible to see him surviving.

But right now there are three big reasons why the end could still come well before that.

1 – GONZALO HIGUAIN

Chelsea devoted a lot of time, energy and tough negotiation to bring Higuain to Stamford Bridge because Sarri wanted him so badly.

They managed to avoid paying a big fee to sign him by landing the Argentina star on loan from Juventus.

But one goal against Fulham and two against Huddersfield is a poor return for a player Sarri once insisted was the best striker in the world.

At 31 Higuain is not the sort of player Chelsea would have dreamed of bringing in unless their manager pushed hard for him.

The club have an option to buy him for a fee in excess of £30m, but however much Sarri might want that to happen, it looks increasingly unlikely.

Higuain has looked what he is. Old. His contribution has been minimal. He looks off the pace and out of form and the more frustrated he gets the more he fails to give Chelsea what they need.

Too often he drops deep or goes wide to try and receive the ball when he should be stretching the opposition with a run in behind, and it becomes too easy for teams to defend against.

There is a reason Chelsea have failed to score in more league games than any other top six side this season, and it’s not all Higuain’s fault.

But right now, he’s making it worse, not better, and every week that goes by with him putting in another poor performance is another week when Sarri’s judgement in signing him is questioned.

2 – CHELSEA FANS

Few Chelsea managers have felt the venom of Blues fans the way Sarri has. At times it has shocked even the club’s hierarchy.

When they sang “F*ck Sarriball” as Chelsea were losing at home to Manchester United in the FA Cup last month, it marked a new low.

That had been brewing for months, with supporters increasingly frustrated with a style of play which the Italian stubbornly refuses to change despite it having never actually won anything.

Sarri did go for a slightly more pragmatic approach in the Carabao Cup final, and he has also shown a willingness to switch from his favoured 4-3-3 to a more of 4-2-3-1 at times.

But these minor tweaks will not buy him much time with a fanbase bitterly divided over whether he is the right man for the job.

There are still some Chelsea fans who pine for the sort of football Napoli played under Sarri and think he deserves more time to get it right.

But there are also a sizeable contingent who have already made up their minds he has to go, and their anger is not going to go away any time soon.

Sarri has not helped himself by keeping fan favourite Callum Hudson-Odoi largely on the bench, recalling a largely hated Marcos Alonso, and blaming the struggles of Jorginho on his team-mates.

But it doesn’t look like he is going to change his mind on any of those things any time soon, and that may be the biggest danger for him. Lose the fans and it’s over.

3 – THE DRESSING ROOM

When Jose Mourinho lost the dressing room at Chelsea it was game over for him. That hasn’t happened yet to Sarri. But it doesn’t look good.

His players are clearly still fighting for him, still trying. But they look confused, divided and lacking in leadership. They're a disaster waiting to happen.

The incident with Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Cup final just underlined how little authority Sarri has left.

Not only did the Spain goalkeeper refuse to leave the pitch, he deliberately undermined his manager – and was allowed to get away with it.

Okay, Chelsea eventually punished him and he was dropped. But where was the accountability on the day, when they were claiming it was all just a big mistake?

Not one of Chelsea’s players really backed their manager at Wembley. David Luiz went over to half-heartedly tell Kepa to do as he was told. But he soon gave up trying.

That one incident split the squad and exposed all the cracks behind the scenes, with plenty of Kepa’s international team-mates expressing their sympathy for him and others absolutely furious with him.

But the whole situation would never have been allowed to happen in the days of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.

This team lacks leaders. It’s struggling to carry out it’s manager’s instructions. It doesn’t respect him. And it knows if it keeps losing, it won't be long until he's gone.

Chelsea can't go on like this.


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