With Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea must consider doing the unthinkable: not sacking their manager

With Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea must consider doing the unthinkable: not sacking their manager

Not that quiet, in fact: Sarri’s 18-game unbeaten honeymoon period included a thrillingly caution-to-the-wind win over Arsenal, a Carabao Cup defeat of Liverpool at Anfield and, three days later, being denied another victory over Klopp only by a stunning 89th-minute Daniel Sturridge intervention at Stamford Bridge.

Once Sarri’s foundations had finally been excavated – Spurs giving his side a comprehensive lesson in aggressive cohesion at Wembley in late November – the wheels have supposedly come off. But should seven defeats in 11 weeks (even allowing for the startling scorelines at Bournemouth and on Sunday at the Etihad) erase the obvious positives of an unbeaten three-and-a-half-month start?

Indeed, it was a start that followed an almost non-existent pre-season thanks to the protracted negotiations with Napoli, which meant Sarri was appointed only a day before the final of a World Cup in which a sizeable chunk of his squad were involved until the latter stages. Few managers would consider that an ideal set of circumstances to introduce an entirely new gameplan.

On a wider level, Chelsea have hired-and-fired themselves into something of a corner: there are only so many managers out there. If they hit the reset button immediately, there will surely be no third coming of Chief Caretaker Guus Hiddink, leaving just the pleasant smile of Gianfranco Zola to steer the squad to the peace and quiet of May.

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