Why Sarri’s squad usage will be vital to where Chelsea finish this season in the league
Chelsea have started this season with perfection, winning all three of the league games played so far. They have shown what type of football we will witness in the coming games. New manager Maurizio Sarri is slowly applying his own style of play on the players, who are responding in a positive way.
The Blues now have the likes of Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante in full swing after the World Cup. This is in addition to new signing Jorginho, who seems to have settled in well. The picture looks rosy at Stamford Bridge, with the style of football looking easy on the eye.
However, tougher challenges are about to come in the next month or so and that is when the real test for Sarri and his squad will arise. The question is how they can dodge that and do well overall.
Having a Champions League intervention is a blessing for top teams, as they thrive to travel to Spain, Italy or Germany to play big European games and come back to perform in the league. But playing in the Europa League is different.
The Europe’s second-tier competition games are played on Thursday nights, which are not good for teams who then have to come back by Friday afternoon and prepare for a game on Sunday afternoon. In addition, the tough thing is the away trips in this tournament where long trips to play a game of high-intensity football is often a case.
The worst part is coming back and quickly playing another highly intense game in the Premier League. This routine will start for Chelsea from the next month, where the real test will come for the new manager.
There is hardly any English club that has done well in the Europa League and also finished in the top-four in the league. They generally prefer one thing over the other and concentrate accordingly.
Hence, for Sarri, it would be a case of rotating the squad accordingly. His style of play requires stamina and intensity, so the Thursday-Sunday fixture cycle won’t help the cause.
Chelsea have a fairly deep squad and it should be used judiciously if they are to finish in the top-four and do respectably well in Europe.