Maurizio Sarri may have recently stumbled across the solution to his ‘Sarriball’ woes, but this Sunday isn’t about our progression or even our chances of finishing in the top 4, it’s about saving English football.
Having finally caved in to fan pressure, Sarri’s inclusion of youngsters like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi have revitalised Chelsea and probably saved Sarri’s job.
Sarrisimo 2.0 has seen Chelsea take a more direct approach in their attack, with Eden Hazard, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek all taking players on instead of trying to pass the ball into the net.
Fans as a result have been a bit more content with Sarri and the football as a whole. Some still remain convinced that Sarri should be on his bike, but those with a more open outlook are starting to see what could be possible under the Italian.
While I remain firmly in the Sarri in camp, strong in the belief that, with a couple of new additions, most notably a centre forward who a) can run and b) score goals, we can begin to challenge the duopoly of Manchester City and Sunday’s opponents Liverpool.
However, I want us to park the idea of how the game is played and focus entirely on stopping Liverpool winning the Premier League title.
You can find the best betting offers online here on the Premier League title race, with the bookies having it as too close to call.
Man City are slight favourites at 4/5, while Liverpool are slight underdogs at 11/10 and each are hoping that the other slips up in the run in.
The Blues meanwhile are 5/4 just to finish in the top four, behind Spurs at 1/5 on and Arsenal at 10/11 on.
The press are already in full swing, every newspaper or sports headline mentioning “title hopefuls Liverpool”, City barely get a mention.
Football would be insufferable hearing them go on about being Premier League Champions. And seeing as I tweeted that I would give up football if they did, my wife is keen to hold me to that.
We’ve been here before of course, in 2014, when an unshaven tracksuit clad Mourinho turned up with Tomas Kalas in his back four, and pissed on Liverpool’s parade.
Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip which provided Demba Ba a free path to goal, is still sung about on the terraces of Stamford Bridge today.
This Liverpool team however, feels stronger. They’ve stood up to every challenge thrown at them thus far and in any normal season would be running away with the title.
Luckily for us, we have Manchester City going just one point better than Jurgen Klopp’s side.
I don’t know if I could live in a world where a Liverpool side captained by Steven Gerrard can’t win the league but a Liverpool side captained by Jordan Henderson can. It doesn’t make any logical sense.
So yet again, it’s down to Chelsea to save civilisation as we know it.
Sarri needs to batten down the hatchet, go with a false nine and low block press which served us so well against Manchester City and Spurs.
Last nights Europa League tie saw Jorginho play the full 90 minutes, could we go with N’golo Kante in that deeper role and we play the counter attacking football we become better known for?
It’s not something I want to see long term, I’ve always wanted Chelsea to play a possession based attacking game. But even more than that, I want us to stop Liverpool winning the league again.
That’s why I’m ok with Sarri parking his philosophy for an hour and a half at Anfield on Sunday.
I don’t know if he will makes those changes to our style, but getting a repeat performance of Bournemouth or Manchester City away really would be the end of the world.
It’s a difficult quandary to be in, We’ve just started finding our feet again in Sarri’s way and we really should go to Anfield in that same vein and continue our journey.
Last night’s 1-0 win away at Slavia Prague was pretty dreadful stuff, it showed that the way to go is with the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi and getting their directness and pace into the team.
But I’d take 90 minutes of backs to the wall, heart attack inducing defending, topped off with a 97th minute offside winning goal which goes in off the hand.
I want Sarri to succeed, I want Chelsea to play good attacking football, I want us to stick with this style change but more than that, so much more than that, I want us to stop Liverpool again.