Spurs matched Everton’s approach to playing Chelsea. Cut off the source. Stop the architect. Don’t allow Jorginho space. The Italian’s influence was nulled and Chelsea couldn’t recover. He is clearly the metronome in Cheslea’s team. Making them tick along.
They also have a blunt strike force and are in desperate need of finding how to put the ball in the net. Sarri needs a backup plan and one that can be implemented straight away. They have a number of options available to them but need to act quickly to avoid falling out of touch with the runaway leaders.
This is how Chelsea need to adapt to stay in the title race.
How Chelsea Need to Adapt to Stay in the Title Race Following Spurs Loss
If Jorginho cannot make Chelsea play it looks like they lack the inspiration, creativity, intelligence and drive. They cannot allow the squad to become over-reliant on one player. Hence Cesc Fabregas‘ run out against Everton. Adding another dimension to the team. A direct passer, someone careful on the ball that understands and has the finesse to unlock defences.
If Fabregas is Chelsea’s only back up then they are in trouble. Matteo Kovacic is no longer adding to the midfield. His drive and effort is appreciated but gives nothing to the team they don’t already have.
It is now that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley need to make an impact. Expected to now rotate and change the team to re-energise and promote healthy competition, Sarri would be foolish not to look towards his bright English talent.
Players that will certainly be looking to prove a point and solidify a place in the midfield. Both players bring pace, power and dribbling ability and have recently shown an eye for goal. Something that Kovacic is lacking massively.
Chelsea have the players available to them. They also have the know-how and the characters to make a successful recovery. But now teams have exposed their weaknesses and business as usual has returned to Chelsea, as they seem on the edge of a meltdown all of a sudden, there needs to be a more obvious second choice system.
Sarri did, in fact, try this against Spurs. Deploying a winger or midfielder as a striker. It promotes attacking creativity and movement. With no main target man, the player who is trusted to play as a false nine has the free role to tangle up and confuse opposition defenders.
Although so far in the Premier League no team has properly implemented a false nine successfully for a long time, Chelsea do have an almost perfect replacement for the false nine in Sarri’s Napoli squad.
There are obvious parallels between Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard, both Belgian, both tricky and they both score goals. Hazard as a false nine is a possibility in the coming weeks but it has its negatives.
A Risky Strategy
Hazard has started the season so well and before recently had been tearing up the league. So why would Sarri move him into the middle? Part of Hazard’s strength as a winger, with a free role already anyway, has been dragging out defenders.
Moving midfielders out of position and creating space for teammates. He has the ability to then dart between them or take several players out of the game with a through ball. If he was to move up top then his space would be lost. Also, he is much easier to mark.
Chelsea have also historically used a target man. Didier Drogba, Diego Costa, Olivier Giroud and even Alvaro Morata are all aerial threats. Providing an option for Marcos Alonso to cross into and also an out ball for defenders when Chelsea are under pressure.
With these big presences up front Chelsea have played a physical style of football and has seen them bully their way to titles. Sarri is a different man, with different and new ideologies. He wants to play, to keep the ball.
However this lack of solidity up front has been evident when Eden Hazard is chasing lost causes when the Blues do have to go long ball. Not only will this annoy Hazard but it doesn’t help the team. Losing the ball quickly and simply but also tiring and demotivating forward players. This even happened on Saturday before Giroud was brought on.
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