Chelsea’s first season under Maurizio Sarri has been quite good, but over the last couple months, those feel-good vibes have been disrupted by a few downright terrible performances. The first, and perhaps still the worst was the 3-1 loss against Tottenham at Wembley in Premier League. Spurs got off to a flying start and before we could even draw a breath, they had already scored two goals. Chelsea never looked like mounting a comeback in what turned out to be the first competitive loss of Sarri-ball.
And so here we are, a month later, going up against Spurs once again, this time in the Carabao Cup semifinal. Sarri is determined to not repeat the same mistakes.
Sarri on Spurs defeat : "We need to approach this match in another way because we lost that way in the first 15 minutes. They were more aggressive and determined than us. We know if the approach is the same then there's no solution for us. I want to speak before about this" #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 7, 2019
Spurs started with an intense high press, barely allowing Chelsea to play out of our half, forcing mistakes and turnovers. The interplay between Son, Dele, Eriksen and Kane was especially destructive as they would draw our midfield out and then thread a pass through, hitting us on the transition as our defence was almost always too slow to react. The spaces thus created were exploited expertly by Son, who was wreaking havoc with his pace and dribbling. Spurs were also a constant threat on set pieces, and their first goal was a result of a mismatch between Kovačić and Dele Alli.
All-in-all, it was a humbling performance, as Chelsea were hilariously outgunned in the tactical department and completely outmatched in the mental aspects of the game as well.
Sarri says Chelsea's intensity is more important than tactics but adds: "We will change tactics, I think." #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 7, 2019
If we are to best Spurs (or at least do better against them) this time, not only will we need to match their hunger and determination but we’ll also need to find a way to beat their tactics. Against Manchester City, we already saw a different side to Sarri-ball as the Blues played deeper and more cautiously than seen until now.
Could we see a similar, more measured approach once again?