It's fair to say that it's been a season of transition for Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri. The 60 year-old replaced his compatriot Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge last summer after months of speculation and there was high hopes amongst the Blues supporters that he could inspire a title challenge after a successful three-year spell with Napoli.
The Italian transformed the Serie A outfit into genuine title contenders, very nearly putting Juventus’ era of dominance to a halt, so hopes were high ahead of his first job in England. But unfortunately as of yet, Sarri is yet to win over the supporters after a testing campaign.
On paper Chelsea have one of the strongest squads in the Premier League but they still find themselves a massive 26 points behind leaders Liverpool, which certainly won’t sit well with trigger happy owner Roman Abramovich. The Russian billionaire has proven in the past that he isn’t afraid to axe under-performing managers and Sarri will definitely be looking nervously over his shoulder.
A top four finish and a return to the Champions League would’ve been the bare minimum requirement for Sarri coming into the campaign and that still isn’t secure, with them three points clear of fifth placed Arsenal having played a game more. Successive seasons without CL football is unthinkable for a club of their size and it’s imperative that they break back in there, which is still possible.
Should they win their five remaining league games they’ll be in with a fantastic chance of qualifying for the CL via a top four finish, but another possibility is the Europa League. The winners of this competition gain automatic qualification which makes it very appealing and with a very winnable quarter-final tie against Slavia Prague to come, Sarri will see that as a big opportunity to get the fans on board.
Antonio Conte finished fifth with Chelsea last term, winning The FA Cup but still lost his job. Will Maurizio Sarri suffer a similar fate should he win the Europa League and/or finish in the top four?