It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of
wisdomSarri, it was the age of foolishnessSarri-ball, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of LightScoring, it was the season of DarknessConceding, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaventhe Champions League, we were all going direct the other way...
-Charles Dickens, Chelsea fan — maybe
In short, Chelsea did their very best to move forward from defeat to Liverpool this past Sunday and use up whatever whatever football magic was left over in the universe from the thrilling second leg of the Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur Champions League tie. A flurry of goals within the first twenty minutes saw Chelsea with nine of ten toes in the semifianls before half. Or so we, including Sarri, thought...
“[We did] very well in the first half I think. As usual in the last two months we started badly in the second half. We need a solution. In the last ten matches we started like this match. It is a big problem.”
“At half-time I said that the target was the start with the same application and attention in the second half. But we didn’t do it. I don’t know why. It is not easy to understand. Otherwise we can’t solve the problem very easy, but it is difficult to understand why.”
It was the best of times, the worst of times. Slow starts, sometimes to games, more recently to second halves have been an unwelcome common occurrence. Difficult to understand why. Sarri not understanding why things happen is another unwelcome common occurrence.
Chelsea conceding just after half-time in 2019:— bet365 (@bet365) April 18, 2019
⚽️ 54' v Slavia Prague
⚽️ 51' v Slavia Prague
⚽️ 53' v Liverpool
⚽️ 51' v Liverpool
⚽️ 46' v Cardiff
⚽️ 49' v Everton
⚽️ 56' v Wolves
⚽️ 49' v Everton
⚽️ 56' v Wolves
⚽️ 56' v Man City
⚽️ 47' v Bournemouth
⚽️ 50' v Tottenham#CFC pic.twitter.com/KJd8giqA21
Last season, own goals became a persistent feature of the Blues. This season, the football gods have bequeathed us conceding early second-half goals and hitting the woodwork. Sarri, to his bemusement at being asked, offered to even forego halftime team talks.
“I can try not to go into the dressing room at half-time. I can try. If I can solve the problem like this then I will try.
In other musings, Sarri confirmed that Eden Hazard’s knock is not serious. Hazard was taken off on 65 — (ed.note: should’ve been earlier, even!) — and Sarri seems confident in Hazards availability for next Monday.
As for the Europa League, Sarri reiterated his desire to win the competition, which would be the first major trophy in his managerial career. Next in the way for that will be Eintracht Frankfurt, led by young Serbian starlet Luka Jovic.
“To win it will be very difficult, of course. We need to think to the semi-final, we need to study our opponents. We want to get to the final. We want to win the competition of course, but it will be difficult.
”Eintracht are a great team with a wonderful striker, Jovic. In the other semi-final (Arsenal vs Valencia) there are two very good teams. I am not happy Napoli are out. If the final was Chelsea vs Napoli I am sure at the end of the match I am really very happy. So I am not happy with that result.
”For me I think it is very important to play the final. This time I don’t want to just play the final, I want to win.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
The first leg against the team currently fourth in the Bundesliga awaits Chelsea in two weeks. Can we petition to play four 45-minute legs instead?