When Maurizio Sarri’s move to Chelsea was announced in the summer, he was relatively unknown in English football. However, since making the switch from Naples to London, the 59-year-old has been something of a revelation.
Not only is he putting his trademark style of play into action at Stamford Bridge but he has also instantly returned a side that struggled last season back into genuine title challengers. Following a goalless draw with Everton last time out, Sarri actually broke an impressive record. His unbeaten run of 12 games is the longest of any new manager in the Premier League, taking it from Frank Clark who managed 11 at Nottingham Forest in 1994.
in spite of that record though, Chelsea still only find themselves 3rd in the table behind Manchester City and Liverpool which shows that just staying unbeaten might not be good enough for them to lift a sixth title. The last time the Blues managed the first 12 league games without losing, they went on to win the league, under Jose Mourinho in 2014/15.
It is important to note that trophies aren’t the priority this season under their new boss as he intends to implement his possession-based style onto a group of players who are unfamiliar with such a way of playing. Although, there is one man in the team knows that vision like the back of his hand: Jorginho. He was clearly at the top of Sarri’s wishlist and came in on the same day as the manager he spent three years with at Napoli.
It is the Italian centre midfielder who is the obvious heartbeat of the Blues starting XI. He has made well over 1,000 passes since his league debut, averaging more than one pass a minute in the Premier League which is an extraordinary statistic. Without his impact in the middle of the park, it would be a tough challenge to sustain ‘Sarriball’, especially alongside a player like N’Golo Kante who isn’t as accomplished on the ball. Although, the two midfielders compliment each other perfectly and allow the rest of the team to push forward as they sit outside the penalty area.
The concept of Sarriball is exciting for Chelsea fans but also for fans of English football who now have three elite managers desperate to force their individual styles on their players. Unsurprisingly those bosses all find their sides inside the top three with a chance that any of them could lift the title.
For Man City and Liverpool though, both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp will be judged this term on whether or not they win trophies whereas Sarri’s maiden campaign is about performance and transformation.
The Europa League provides a great chance for the former Napoli manager to get his hands on some silverware whilst the FA Cup and Carabao Cup are always a realistic aim for Chelsea.
At the beginning of the season, many people said Blues fans needed to show patience but after such a great start, a title challenge could well be on the horizon if they turn disappointing draws into more wins.