Before we get started I’d like to preface this blog by saying that I’m not claiming to be a tactics expert or even claiming to have an ounce of knowledge of tactics, formations and their implementation.
To me, football’s always been about winning and how that’s achieved has been largely irrelevant to me. However, I’ve always wondered why we have never been able to control games how the likes of Barcelona did.
Whenever we come up against better opposition, we knew, before a ball was even kicked, that the opposition would have the ball and we would sit back and try to hit them on the counter attack.
Sarri’s arrival has changed that, his brand of football is all about having possession of the ball and creating quick interchangeable passing patterns and channels in the final third. It’s been a refreshing change and one I’m hoping we keep beyond the lifespan of Sarri as Chelsea’s first team coach.
It’s for this reason, and I’ll say this louder for people at the back, WE’RE NOT PLAYING WITH A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER.
The move would be futile. Yes Kante is one of the worlds best as a defensive midfielder, but we’re not playing a system that has a defensive midfielder, so he’s got to play a slightly different role and one that I personally think he’s doing well in.
As I wrote in a previous blog, https://chelseafancast.com/2018/09/kante-not-to-blame-for-toothlessness/ , Kante’s job is now taking place higher up the pitch.
He has to recycle possession in the oppositions half and give it to the forwards to do their job. The fact we have the striking equivalent of a fork in a bowl of soup is not the fault of Kante. The more we understand the inner workings of “sarrisimo” the more Kante’s role will become clearer.
Another factor we have to remember is that we haven’t fully grasped what “Sarrisimo” is. Sarri has said himself that we aren’t where he wants us to be just yet, and it may take a few new signings to move the process along, but it’s going to take time. Let’s not forget, Guardiola finished third in his first season and lost home and away to us. Compare and contrast City’s performances at the Etihad against us in the past two seasons. You can see City’s progression (and our regression).
How can teams have sussed us out if we haven’t sussed ourselves out yet? However, the last two games have shown that if you stop Jorginho, you stop Chelsea.
We go from Calum Best in the bedroom to a football vlogger. And this is clearly a huge problem because Sarri needs to finish in the top 4 or he’ll be disposed of.
The problem isn’t really Jorginho at the base, if it was we wouldn’t have been unbeaten in all competitions up until Sunday evening.
So how do we negate this? How can we keep the style and the system?
Simple, play two Jorginho’s.
Everton and Spurs had joy by putting three players around him. You couldn’t do that with two of him. You’d leave yourself too exposed at the back.
In Sarri’s eyes, only two players can play that role, Jorginho and Fabregas.
If you had both of them and the base, you’d have two options to pass out with.
It wouldn’t matter which one got the ball because they’d both do the same job.
It also gives you different options further up the pitch.
You could go 4-2-3-1 with Pedro, Hazard and Willian behind the striker or 4-3-3 with Kante helping in the middle against teams with better midfields.
And of course, not every team we face is going to be brave or good enough to try and stifle us up the pitch in fear we would easily beat the press and turn defence into attack very quickly.
But until we learn to do that against the teams that press very well and better teams why not try and help Jorginho by putting two of him in that position?
We have the making of a potentially very good team but it’s going to take time for this system to come to its maximum.
What we need is patience, not hot takes or nappy shitting.
This is just the beginning.
By Dean Mears