Maurizio Sarri and Sarri-ball have been hot talking points around the football world in the last few weeks and even months. That’s because the Italian manager took over a club that has become used to achieving success irrespective of the type of football played by the manager. From Jose Mourinho to Rafael Benitez and Antonio Conte, each manager has brought his own style. But one thing has been common to all - they won trophies.
Sarri promised to revolutionise the football by making it more pleasing to the eye and still win trophies. Chelsea believed him. Unfortunately, he failed at the first attempt when he lost the Community Shield to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City while being outplayed at the same time.
It was understandable though as he was cutting his teeth in the English game. He needed some time to acclimatise.
However, after several months at the Chelsea dugout, the once promising Sarri-ball is getting a lot of stick. That’s mainly from the club faithful who have faced disappointment as a result of some damning defeats. A 2-0 loss to Arsenal, 4-0 to Bournemouth, 6-0 to Man City and 2-0 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United all within the last few weeks are results that have not gone down well with the club faithful. This has led to various speculations concerning his future at the club.
Sure, every team loses at one point or another but making it a habit is what cannot be tolerated especially for a top side like Chelsea. But Man City would not care one bit.
The opportunity to win the first trophy of the season now beckons with the League Cup final set to go down this Sunday. After humiliating Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium last week, it’s easy for some to forget that the Sarri’s men have proved to be a stumbling block for City already this season. The Stamford Bridge outfit handed City a first league defeat of the season winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. This led to a couple of other defeats that allowed Liverpool take charge in the title race.
Beating City back in December underlined the team’s threat to City’s ambitions. Although the Sky Blues exacted revenge by subjecting the side to one of the heaviest defeats in the club’s history, the final on Sunday is a totally different game. The Sky Blues will need to be at their best to conquer a side that has been battered and bruised and so pushed to the wall. Both the manager and players will take a totally different approach to the game in order to emerge victorious.
Beating City to the trophy could prove to be the saving grace for the manager moving forward. Hence, he will pull out every weapon in his arsenal to down Guardiola’s team. Besides, this is a final and history shows that sometimes anything can happen.
As a club, City has experienced this first hand. Wigan Athletic stunned the football universe in 2013 by beating Man City 1-0 to be crowned unlikely FA Cup champions. It was the club’s first appearance in the competition’s final as the team struggled all season in the league. Yet, an upset was achieved in the final against a City side that already believed the trophy was there for the taking.
So all hands must be on deck and the players should not be distracted by Chelsea’s recent poor form to think the final is a foregone conclusion. Underrating the FA Cup holders who have become used to winning trophies as shown in the last few years could prove costly in the end.