Chelsea’s unbeaten run had to come to an end sooner or later. However, nobody could have envisaged it would happen with such a limp display. Not only that but against a major rival in a heated London derby.
Chelsea Defeat To Tottenham is a Wake Up Call For Maurizio Sarri
You can sum up The Blues’ performance quite simply – lack of passion, no belief and outplayed by a Tottenham team who put in their best shift of the season.
Now the real work starts for Maurizio Sarri. The Italian has had a magnificent start to life in the Premier League, having been unbeaten in all competitions before the weekend.
Chelsea’s form had stuttered prior to the international break. A last-gasp Ross Barkley equaliser rescued a point against Manchester United. That was followed by Sarri’s men making hard work of a 3-2 Carabao Cup victory against Derby County. Also, just before the break, they looked unconvincing in a 1-0 victory away to BATE Borisov and were also held to a goalless draw at home by Everton.
Now, Maurizio Sarri has the challenge of rallying his troops to get them through a tough period that includes them playing twice per week right up untill into the new year.
During that time, The Blues will face Manchester City in league action and also have a crucial Carabao Cup quarter-final date with Bournemouth. In addition, they have two remaining Europa League group clashes as they hope to maintain a 100% record.
One thing lacking from Chelsea’s season is the use of the entire squad. Sarri has a big pool of players to choose from at Stamford Bridge. However, he has opted to pick his starting line-ups from a smaller group.
In all fairness, if you’re winning, why change it? Well, with the unbeaten run done and dusted, now is the opportunity to give others a chance.
Defensively, Chelsea were clueless at Wembley. David Luiz has always been a bit of luxury player. Error-strewn during his first spell, the Brazilian has fared better since returning to The Blues. But questions over his continued inclusion will be asked.
Andreas Christensen cuts a frustrated figure desperate for first-team action and Ethan Ampadu has shown on international duty exactly what he can offer. The Wales international may only be 17, but if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, as the saying goes. Gary Cahill is, of course, another option. The ex-Bolton man has bags of invaluable experience, despite being out of favour with both Sarri and Blues fans
Marcos Alonso is a huge threat going forward. Defensively, though, the Spaniard is prone for being caught out of position. Shy in a tackle, this isn’t the first time talk of his defensive capabilities have come about.
Chelsea do lack options at left-back. Emerson Palmieri has had a few chances and looks an able deputy. Back up is about as good as it gets for the former Roma player. The transfer window could well supply the answers, even though Alonso recently signed a new long-term deal.
The midfield didn’t fair much better. They were overrun by their Spurs counterparts. Jorginho had his worse game in a Blues shirt and you have to wonder whether N’Golo Kante should revert back to his favoured central holding role.
Kovacic doesn’t offer much statistically. Without a goal and only one assist, although you could argue he is heavily involved in the build-up play. Barkley and Loftus-Cheek certainly offer more in the way of both goals and assists.
The striker problem has been evident for most of this season. Alvaro Morata has shown flashes of a top marksman. However, he really isn’t cutting it at Stamford Bridge. Olivier Giroud was signed as a back-up. He is perfect for the role as an impact sub but is not going to start regularly and deliver 20+ goals per season.
The only way of addressing the problem is to buy big in January – whether The Blues can identify a man to carry them through to next May remains to be seen. It is a must if Maurizio Sarri is to succeed in the Premier League.
Youth Can Offer Hope
As well as the previously mentioned Ethan Ampadu, Chelsea do have Callum Hudson-Odoi patiently waiting in the wings. Many of The Blues’ promising young guns are out on loan all over Europe. There are other options shining in the youth ranks. Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour and Dutch striker Daishawn Redan are two such youngsters expected to have a bright future. With a packed run of fixtures, it would be great to see some youth used in the senior squad.