After back-to-back wins at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea take to the road to Molineux for a Wednesday night tilt at newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. But there are no easy games in the Premier League, as the cliche goes, and Sarri expects a tough test as well.
“I expect a very difficult match because they are a very technical team. They have a lot of technical players. They were unlucky in the last two matches, I think it is not easy to play there.”
This is the first midweek round of the Premier League season as the fixture list enters the famously congested holiday period, but fortunately for us, the squad appears to be just about fully healthy, minor niggles aside as to be expected in the middle of a season.
“I spoke with the doctor 10 minutes ago and we have no injuries at the moment. Of course, we had a little problem with Kovacic in the last match and Alonso. Kovacic [had an] ankle [problem]. Alonso, back. The doctor says they can play. We just need to see the last training session, if someone’s tired.”
But fitness is only half the battle. The form of the team and especially a few players seems to be lacking, with the aforementioned Alonso especially putting in a noticeably terrible performance on Sunday — in fact, Sarri had to go to the non-standard step of replacing him with Davide Zappacosta (and moving New-contract-man Azpilicueta, for whom Sarri is “very happy”, to the left side) in order to keep Fulham at bay.
“I don’t know [if the injury made a difference to Alonso’s performance]. I don’t think you can say that after the match. Maybe during the match the back worsened, this is possible. I want to speak to him, he didn’t play very well. I know this, but I think he knows this. It can happen and today we will see the reaction and the situation of the back. For the doctor it is better.”
Alonso’s fellow countryman Alvaro Morata is yet another concern heading into this crucial period of matches, but unlike Alonso, Morata’s form has been an ongoing issue for some time. We’ve yet to figure out what makes the striker truly tick in 18 months, and Sarri seems just as lost as anyone else in this regard.
“I don’t know [if he needs tough love, or an arm around him]. I must understand what he needs, but he has played well in the last month. He has scored five goals. He needs continuity I think. Confidence, so he needs that with scoring.”
“Now he is 25, his character is this and he only has to stay calm. In the last match he missed because he wanted to score too much.”
With both Morata and Giroud finding the back of the net with a bit more regularity as of late, Chelsea’s transfer rumors have largely concerned themselves with other reinforcements, such as Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic. Reports this weekend claimed that Chelsea have submitted a first bid for the 20-year-old American, but Sarri of course was not about to get drawn into talking about such things, giving his usual answer in such situations.
“He is a player of Borussia Dortmund and I don’t want to talk about a player of another club. It’s not professional, I think”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: Football.London
What does concern Sarri tinstead is Chelsea’s continued improvement and mentality, as we aim for a third win in a row before the scary proposition of Manchester City coming to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.