24th January 19.45 GMT. Chelsea v Tottenham. Semi Final 2nd Leg.
Sarri’s Blistering Start
Chelsea are in poor form right now with manager Maurizio Sarri under pressure. The 60 years old Italian, appointed on the 14th July 2018, enjoyed a blistering start to his Barclays Premier League career by picking up 5 wins in his first 5 games and scoring 13 goals.
Fast forward to Chelsea’s last 5 games and they’ve won 2, lost 2, and drawn 1 scoring 4 goals. Goals, which seemed to flow up to the 4th November last year when they beat Crystal Palace 3-1, have dried up. During Chelsea’s 1st 11 Barclays Premier League Games this season they scored 27. Following the Palace win, Chelsea drew 0-0 at home to Everton and they’ve only scored 13 in their last 12 Premier League games for a total of 40. Something’s gone horribly wrong.
Hard to Motivate!
After Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday Sarri publicly laid into his team during his press conference. Reverting to his native tongue, to avoid any miss communications, he scored an own goal by accusing his players of being hard to motivate. It’s his job to motivate his players. That’s why he’s the manager. If he can’t he’s failed. Work can be hard, hence the phrase, ‘hard work.’
Morata Not Injured
Also during his press conference, Sarri went back to English when he explained that Álvaro Morata hadn’t missed the Arsenal game through injury so it could be safe to assume that he’s played his last Chelsea game. This season he’s scored 5 times, in 16 Premier League appearances, and has no assists. In the Premier League’s, ‘Big Chances Missed Table’ this season, Morata sits 6th with 10 misses. As a striker, it’s a good table to be in as long as you have a good conversion rate. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leads the way with 16 misses although he’s scored 14. Mo Salah’s in 3rd place with 12 but he’s scored 16.
Sarri needs a plan B as other teams seemed to have worked out his tactics. Perhaps the signing of former Real Madrid hit-man, 31 year old French-born Argentinean international Gonzalo Higuaín, will be part of the answer. Other options include playing star players, such as Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kanté, in their more familiar roles.
Second Leg Fight Back
Despite being a goal down from the first leg Chelsea, against a Tottenham team minus Kane, Son, and possibly Alli, might find enough to get that goal back and win the game that could go to penalties.