Sports

Chelsea Preview: four decisions that Maurizio Sarri must make before the start of the season

Chelsea Preview: four decisions that Maurizio Sarri must make before the start of the season

Sarri will face Huddersfield in his first Premier League match as Chelsea manager (Getty Images). The Chelsea season was in danger of being derailed before it even started.
The club was left in limbo during the persistent controversy with the former coach Antonio Conte, an ongoing fight that threatened to leave the Blues in the arms race which is the window of the summer transfer.
But Chelsea, in the only way they know, since he named one of the most progressive coaches in Europe, has hijacked Manchester City's move for his first-choice midfield goal, signed the most expensive goalkeeper in the world football and now it seems all right Stamford Bridge.
Other: football

Still, Sarri only had the best part of four weeks to implement his intense tactical framework on his new Chelsea team. Here are four decisions he has to make before Saturday's game against Huddersfield to ensure that his work-in-progress continues to move forward.
Fill the hole of Marek Hamsik

Cesc Fabregas will probably fill the role of Hamsik in the first part of the season (Getty Images) One of the characteristics of Sarri's team-oriented attack on Naples was the freedom and effectiveness of Hamsik in the face of a double pivot of midfield and behind a three movable front. His talismanic performances at the Stadio San Paolo were one of the main reasons why Napoli came so close to overthrowing Juventus dominance in Serie A.
It is right to presume Jorginho, the underlying conductor, and N & # 39; Golo Kante, the winner of all actions, will be the first choice operators in the two slots at the base of the midfield, leaving Sarri to choose one among the Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Mateo Kovacic play the most advanced role.
In terms of the raw player profile, Barkley (or a previous version of him) has more in common with Hamsik than any of his peers. He has lungs to be able to join the attack but keep in touch with the two behind him. His ability to carry the ball and dribble opponents is also highly desirable. What he lacks is any kind of form in the last two years, which suggests that he will not fall for a great opportunity.
Loftus-Cheek, in the same way, will hardly be able to get the sign of Sarri because of his inexperience. The fact that he did not leave the club in some way during the window remains a mystery.
Fabregas has the pedigree, but not the legs. It could fill the role in the first weeks of the season, but it is beyond the realms of possibility that the Spaniard, for all his creative contribution, can operate in the role of a season of 38 games.
This leaves Kovacic. He only came to the club this week but he has the tools to make the best possible imitation of Hamsik if he manages to impress enough Sarri in the first weeks of training. But Chelsea could end up spending 12 months building it in the role just to see him return to Madrid as the best player.
Enter Hazard as a fake nine

It's time for Eden Hazard to move on to the next level (Getty Images) Another of Sarri's success stories was the transformation of Dries Mertens from a great wing into an outstanding central midfielder. Unlike the Hamsik situation, there is a clear and exceptional candidate to enter that role: Eden Hazard.
The Belgian is a bit crossroads in his career. His move to Real Madrid did not materialize and, despite a third place finish, he would have expected a little more from himself at the World Cup. Now it's time to do something different to catapult into Ballon's real contention of Or and could not have asked for a better manager to handle his much-needed transformation.
If Hazard can make that change of course, as did Gareth Bale with Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs, then the Premier League could be his.
The obvious incident in this situation would be Alvaro Morata, but his performances at the end of last season suggest that Chelsea would not be worse without him on the team.
Take a seat on a back four

Can Sarri get the best from David Luiz at Chelsea? (Getty Images) Another feature of Sarri's methods is his reluctance to rotate his selection, much less his back four. The president of Napoli Aurelio De Laurentiis has constantly criticized his former manager for sabotaging the chances of the Italian Champions League with his failure to refresh his XI. It is unlikely to change at Stamford Bridge.
The signing of the world record Kepa certainly resumes, as well as the always reliable Cesar Azpilicueta of the right-back.
Antonio Rudiger has done enough in the pre-season to suggest that he will get the nod to the center-half. So Sarri must make a phone call to decide whether to return to drive the promising but raw Andreas Christensen for a whole season or trust the talented, but equally erratic David Luiz.
Marcos Alonso would be the default choice on the left side, but the arrival of January Emerson has a clean slate and with any ambition he will work to make that place his.
Give Hudson-Odoi a left-hand drive

Callum Hudson-Odoi had a sensational pre-season and fully deserves to be included in the team of Chelsea's first team for the season, but deserves a starting spot against Huddersfield over the weekend?
Yes, it does. He looked his age against Manchester City in the Community Shield, sure, but Chelsea will not play a team anywhere near that caliber, week after week.
His performance against an Arsenal of strength near Dublin was nothing short of exceptional, showing that he already has the physicality at his tender age to mix him in the Premier League.
Often the promising young stars of Chelsea have fallen along the road due to the lack of a path in the first team. If Sarri decides to move Hazard to a central position, there will be an open hole for Hudson-Odoi.
A show of confidence in a young English player from Chelsea will also go a long way in order to win him over to the club's fans who have been deprived of such a figure since John Terry and Frank Lampard have left the club.
Other: Chelsea FC