Maurizio Sarri appeared on the verge of sacking this time last month, after Manchester United recorded a relatively rare victory at Stamford Bridge and eliminated Chelsea from the FA Cup. It wasn’t just the fact of the loss that looked to spell Sarri’s end, but rather the wayward play of the team, bereft of ideas in attack, lost in midfield, and clueless in defence.
Reportedly just one loss away from the axe, Chelsea pulled together a run of seven games without losing in regulation. We did lose on penalties in the League Cup final, but that 0-0 was almost as heartening as any victory might have been. (Almost. Not quite. But almost.) That final was followed by a great win over Spurs at the Bridge and order in the universe was restored. Except it wasn’t.
Chelsea may have dominated Dynamo Kiev over two legs (both in terms of play and in terms of goals), but we barely edged out incredibly terrible Fulham, needed a last-gasp equalizer at home against best-of-the-non-top-six-rest Wolves, and were soundly beaten by a not quite vintage edition Everton. The loss at Goodison was the fifth away defeat (from six) in the league since the turn of the year, and that is hilariously bad.
4 - Only Fulham (six) have lost more Premier League games away from home in 2019 than Chelsea (P5 W1 D0 L4). Turbulent. pic.twitter.com/7G0gocOd4I— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 17, 2019
So it’s entirely unsurprising that tabloids are once again already talking about a sacking. The Express, as they often do, lead the way, with a solid “could” be sacked during the international break opening gambit. It’s football; anything “could” happen. That’s not saying much.
Will Sarri be sacked in the next two weeks, before Chelsea play Cardiff City away on March 31st? Probably not. It seems a little too late for all that. The die has been cast. We’ve made our bed of Sarri-ball straw; now we must lie in it. Even Roberto Di Matteo had been in the job for a couple weeks at this point back in 2012, and AVB’s sacking came later than any other in the Abramovich Era.
But it’s football. Anything “could” happen. Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has been an increasingly visible presence at games, home and away — if Granovskaia’s the Emperor’s Hand, Buck certainly seems to be the Emperor’s
New Clothes Face — and his Larry David-esque visage does not generate confidence in Sarri’s long-term survival. Arguably, sacking a manager during an international break is one of the better times to do so, giving the new man some time to settle in and get to know the squad (except those who are away on international duty).
But Chelsea have also shown more patience, for better or worse, in the last several years. Mourinho was given way too much rope, Conte was given the whole second season despite strong personal conflicts, and now Sarri continues to stay in charge despite repeatedly admitting that he cannot teach, motivate, or guide this set of players to consistent success.
So what’s the point again?
Last month, 63% voted Sarri-out. How about now?
Should Chelsea sack Maurizio Sarri right now?
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