Posted on May 1st, 2019
It’s never dull as far as Chelsea are concerned, if it’s not the weight of an impending transfer ban on their shoulders, then it’s the continual questions as to just who will be in charge of the club at the start of the next season.
With so many headlines being created due to matters off the pitch, you almost forget the football they have played over the past nine months. Although it has not been a classic campaign, that does not mean it has been a total bust either.
Maurizio Sarri’s first season in charge of the West London outfit has already seen him reach the final of the Carabao Cup and while Chelsea would lose to Manchester City on penalties, they certainly gave a good account of themselves.
However, it was once again off-pitch matters that created the biggest story and after the subordination of Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, many were wondering if the man at the helm had lost the confidence of his dressing room.
Arrizabalaga went down with cramp in extra time and with penalty specialist Willy Caballero waiting on the bench to enter the pitch for that sole purpose, a change of goalkeeping personnel seemed like the logical choice.
Only the former Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper had other ideas and waved off the substitution to eventually face the penalties himself, a decision that almost led Sarri to stomp off down the tunnel before the game had concluded and show something befitting the level of ‘FIFA Rage’.
Unfortunately, in the theatre of real football, you cannot simply quit and throw your control pad against the wall. Eventually the former Napoli manager thought better and decided to watch the impending penalties with an ever-rising level of evident seethe.
For the 60-year-old Italian, it was the nadir of his time as manager and although he suffered a great deal of embarrassment in front of the footballing world, he has managed to put that behind him and keep the Blues well in the hunt for a top-four finish.
That’s something the bookmakers are confident he will achieve: a look at the latest Premier League betting sees the Stamford Bridge outfit priced at 4/11 on with bet365 and within touching distance of returning to the Champions League.
While of course, this is without the club having to cash in on their insurance policy and one that comes in the shape of winning this season’s Europa League. If this were the case, then it would provide the perfect safety net against not finishing in the top four.
If they do manage to land the Europa League on May 29th and also finish either third or fourth in the Premier League, then it would have to be considered a campaign that has turned out to be a relative success.
At the same time, Sarri’s managerial methods have been questioned and it is clear to see that at times he is something of a ‘one-note’ tactician, who is too rigid in terms of philosophy and unwilling to adapt to earn results.
This is a style that has already drawn the ire of the fans and it is clearly apparent that their love affair with ‘Sarriball’ is coming to an end. The question now though, is whether owner Roman Abramovich feels the same way.
He is no stranger to showing world class managers the exit door and not to mention names who have won a lot more than the current incumbent. If he decides to do so again, it will be a case of thanks, but Sarri you’re not for us.