After getting back-to-back wins in Premier League against Manchester City and Brighton, Chelsea’s next game is against Leicester City who are coming off back-to-back losses against Spurs and surprisingly, Crystal Palace.
Back in the hot seat after Zola took media duties for the EFL Cup, Maurizio Sarri started off with some team news.
There is a new injury as Christensen has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, the injury isn’t serious and should only keep him out of action for a week or so.
“We have a little injury with Christensen, with his hamstring. The doctor said it is not serious but needs to rest for one week.”
This hasn’t been the best season for Christensen due to the lack of playing time as compared to last season and this injury is just making matters worse. In recent weeks, there have been rumblings about Christensen being on his way out of Chelsea with one of his linked destinations being Barcelona.
Sarri squashed these rumours saying that Barcelona has already announced a centre-back and Christensen’s time on the bench is only a problem in the present as in the future, he expects the defender to play a bigger, more important role in the squad.
“I think Barcelona announced a new centre-back. Christensen for sure is out of the matter at the moment. He is an important player, he is young and will be more important in the future.”
Moving on, Sarri was asked about Chelsea’s striker problems and whether Callum Wilson is the solution to our problems, or Eden Hazard as false-nine, or will we go back to sticking it out with Giroud or Morata. Unfortunately, it seems that we don’t have a fixed solution yet as even though we’ve won two matches with Hazard as striker, according to Sarri, the sample size is still too small and in one of those matches (Brighton), we struggled to kill the game.
Thus, Sarri is not fully convinced and the striker issue is here to stay, at least for the time being. It seems as though we’ve gone back to pre-Diego Costa where Chelsea’s striker issues used to be the center of everything but hey, at least Hazard likes playing in that position! Or so Sarri says.
“I don’t know about Wilson. Eddie is a friend and I want to see him happy. We started the two matches as Hazard as a striker. Then I wanted to see the solution to work in other situations, so I need two or three matches to see it. I explained the point of view to Giroud, then we will see. The solution is good I think. We played a good match against City and against Brighton we were dangerous for 60 minutes. Then it was a different match, more physical. We needed to kill the match before, the players thought it was under control. We lowered the level of application. We need to avoid this as we have to think to kill the match.
“I don’t know yet. Giroud played 90 minutes on Wednesday, Morata has just started training after ten days out.
“I don’t know. I was sure about City in that position we could do a good match. Against Brighton I started to see this situation in different matches. Now I want to see it (False-nine with Hazard) against a team very compact team, in low density. We have to see.
“He [Hazard] told me he likes very much to play there. I wasn’t here last season, so I don’t know why he said that before.”
In fact, the problem has become so big that Chelsea have once again been linked with the 31-year-old Gonzalo Higuain. Not only is his age an issue but the fact that he joined Milan just last summer and as such, will not be moving anywhere in January unless we’re living in FIFA 19.
“I like him very much, he is a wonderful player and man. But I don’t want to talk about Higuain. I have two and a half strikers at the moment, Higuain plays for Milan.”
One player who has been in even worse condition than our misfiring strikers is England’s brave Danny Drinkwater. Drinkwater has only played 30 minutes under Sarri this season across all competitions, that also in Chelsea’s first semi-official match of the season against Manchester City in Community Shield on 5th August, 2018.
More than five months have since passed and Drinkwater has not yet seen the light of the day as a Chelsea player. Unfortunately, Danny’s problems are not going to disappear anytime soon as Sarri believes that even though Drinkwater is a good midfielder, he simply does not fit in Sarrismo as he works better in a pivot. At this point, looking at Sarri’s response, it’s fair to assume that Drinkwater’s career here is as good as over.
“He is in the PL list, but not Europe. He is a very good midfielder, but is suited to playing with two midfielders. His problem is my football. I don’t know his future, it is up to the club and to him.”
Last but not least, Sarri offered his words of sympathy for Jose Mourinho, who is no longer Manchester United’s manager. This is what he had to say on the former Chelsea boss.
“Mourinho won everything, won everywhere so I like him very much as a coach and as a man. I think he is right when he said that Manchester has a future without Mourinho, but he has a great future without United. I would like to see him on the bench as soon as possible. Maybe in England.... not here!”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
That’s all from Sarri’s pre-match press conference. Here’s hoping that Chelsea are able to continue our little upturn in form that we’ve had recently and carry on our winning form.