August Review: Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea Off to Perfect Start

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Eden Hazard of Chelsea gives the fans a thumbs up after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea FC at St. James Park on August 26, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Premier League football has come to an end in August for Chelsea. Maurizio Sarri has got off to the perfect start, recording three wins from free games.

However, what can be taken from his first competitive month in charge of the Blues? Has it all been perfect? Or is there still some areas where things are currently lacking?

Maurizio Sarri And His Perfect Start

Chelsea have had to overcome different challenges in their opening three fixtures of the season, with an away trip to Huddersfield Town in their very first game.

The Terriers had cost the Stamford Bridge outfit an extremely slim chance of making the Champions League, although whether it had cost Antonio Conte his job in west London is up for debate.

Sarri would have been looking for his side to get off to the perfect start in Yorkshire. And they did. The Blues coasted the game and never gave their opponents the chance to get into the match themselves.

A comprehensive 3-0 scoreline, which saw N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Pedro all find the back of the net.

The match showed instantly what Chelsea could expect from the former Napoli manager and what ‘Sarri-ball’ is all about.

He even decided to use Kante in a further forward position, with Jorginho being used as the passing outlet for the team to create attacks.

Arsenal Proved Different Challenge

However, the game against Arsenal was the first real test of the chain-smoking Sarri’s tenure at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues started quickly and managed to take an early two-goal lead through Pedro and Alvaro Morata, however, they were pegged back when the Gunners netted through Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi before the half-time whistle.

Chelsea were fortunate not to be behind at the break when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan both missed great chances.

Eden Hazard changed the game for the hosts in the second half and Marcos Alonso managed to net the winner ten minutes from time after he spent the whole of the game bombing down the left-hand side of the pitch.

Chelsea managed to continuously get in behind Arsenal’s defence down the flanks but left gaps in the middle that Unai Emery’s side could exploit, especially with Kante’s new role.

‘Sarri-Ball’ In Full Effect Against Newcastle

An away trip to St. James’ Park was next for Sarri and his new team and Rafa Benitez’s side made themselves extremely difficult to break down.

‘Sarri-ball’ was in full effect again. The visitors had over 80% of the ball throughout the 90 minutes and ensured that Chelsea would need to be able to grind out a result.

There was an element of fortune in the penalty they got, whilst they would have felt aggrieved at the way Newcastle scored their goal.

The Blues did not give up and managed to net a winner, via an own-goal, however, it meant nine points were taken from a possible nine and Chelsea kept their 100% record up as they head into September.

Not All Perfect By Any Means

Despite a solid month, there are still some concerns at Stamford Bridge. The lack of a goalscorer for starters.

Morata has seemingly been chosen as the man to play up top over Olivier Giroud. Despite the Spaniard netting against Arsenal, he has struggled in the other matches.

Kante’s new position appears to be a risk. The player is obviously much better as a defensive man. It remains to be seen if Sarri can improve him and turn him into a more complete man.

Promising Start for Sarri At Chelsea

Three games into a potentially 50-game season (Europa League and domestic cups) is obviously a small taste of things to come.

But, if Chelsea keep playing the way they are, they could be in for a really successful campaign.

Image used: Embed from Getty Images



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