Maurizio Sarri faces a huge Chelsea FC challenge
Can Maurizio Sarri guide Chelsea FC to success in his first campaign in charge of the west London club?
Chelsea FC had little preparation under new manager Maurizio Sarri ahead of the new Premier League season, but were still able to dispatch Huddersfield with relative ease on the opening day of the campaign.
The Blues endured a summer of uncertainty regarding the future of Antonio Conte, who made it clear that his future lay away from Stamford Bridge at the end of the 2017/18 season. It took almost two months for Roman Abramovich to sack the Italian and replace him with his compatriot Sarri, who had been available for five weeks after leaving Napoli.
Sarri got to work immediately by adding Jorginho to his squad in a £51m deal, beating Manchester City to his signature. The Blues were dealt a hammer blow by the news that Thibaut Courtois wanted to leave the club after his return from the World Cup. Courtois signed for Real Madrid, forcing Chelsea FC to scramble for a world-record deal for a keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for £72m.
Willy Caballero was pressed into action against Manchester City in the Community Shield, but the result highlighted how far the club are behind Pep Guardiola’s men.
Chelsea FC were handed a good opening match on the road to start the Premier League season. Huddersfield played above expectations last term to survive their maiden campaign in the top flight since the inception of the Premier League. However, the Blues eased to a comfortable victory as goals from N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Pedro secured the three points.
Sarri’s men played with an intensity that they will need to carry forward if they are to contend for the title, with the club being backed at 17/1 in the Premier League odds 2019 to take the crown.
Although the transfer window is closed for English clubs, it remains open for teams in Spain along with the rest of Europe. Sarri will be concerned that his best player Eden Hazard could be whisked away without the possibility of replacing the Belgian until January. Maintaining the services of the 27-year-old will be important than any signing during the summer.
Chelsea FC are not blessed with a 30-goal striker in their squad, therefore, the influence of Hazard will be more important than ever.
That will be the factor that holds Chelsea FC back. Olivier Giroud is a decent support striker as proven in his Arsenal days and with France during the World Cup, although he has never been truly prolific.
His best haul with the Gunners came in the 2015/16 season when the Frenchman scored 24 goals in 53 appearances. Getting players in and around the forward will be key to Chelsea’s success as their other alternatives Alvaro Morata and Tammy Abraham are unlikely to provide the solution.
Morata enjoyed a bright start to his Chelsea FC career, only to fall away drastically towards the end of last term. Abraham has youth on his side, but found life tough at Swansea last season.
He’s not ready to carry the burden in the final third for a team that has the Blues’ ambitions. Sarri has a lot of work ahead of him even after his promising debut.