It’s a strange new feeling for Chelsea this week, with the smell of defeat from Saturday night hanging heavy in the air and still tasting bitter in the mouth. The underlying issues have been there practically all season, but they were rudely exposed by a willing Spurs side who seemed to take particular joy in our downfall, as is their right.
So, what’s next? Is the Sarri era already at a tipping point, just one defeat in? Short-termism rules the land, after all, and it only seems to be getting stronger.
For better or worse, Sarri’s likely to stick with Plan A, the only plan. In recent years, he’s only ever tweaked minor aspects of it, and only in how the attacking trio functioned — playing with a No.10, playing with a center forward, playing a false-9.
Chelsea’s next three games — PAOK, Fulham, Wolves — should be winnable regardless of tactics or strategies, which should give us some time to train, tweak, and refocus before the showdown against Manchester City in ten days.
Eden Hazard is dealing with a twisted ankle from last weekend and probably won’t play in this one at all — Chelsea are already through to the knockout round of the Europa League, so we should be seeing even more rotation than usual, presumably. Ethan Ampadu is back in training following his latest injury, so he could be contention. Billy Gilmour joined as well, but he’s not registered and, like Ampadu, is ineligible for the B-list.