Sarri seems to be the hardest word

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CITY HUMILIATE SARRI'S CHELSEA AT THE ETIHAD

As David Silva cuts open Chelsea's exhausted, helpless, crumbling defence with a trademark reverse through ball that most players wouldn't have even entertained, we're all left thinking 'surely not another'. Manchester City's left-back for the day, Oleksandr Zinchenko, latches onto the ball right on the byline and plays it perfectly weighted across the face of goal to the arriving Raheem Sterling, who finds himself unchallenged by the penalty spot, able to effortlessly stroke the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga to make it six of the best for the Cityzens at the Etihad.

Sterling's left-footed effort ten minutes from time completed the rout that he had started 76 minutes earlier, cementing City's stance at the top of the Premier League ahead of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on goal difference. City were once again outstanding throughout the whole of yesterday's encounter; Sergio Aguero bagged his 11th Premier League hat-trick, while the supporting cast of Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan proved way too much for their helpless opponents to handle.

Impossible to break down and typically ruthless in attack, Pep Guardiola's title favourites very much got revenge on Sarri's Chelsea side who had inflicted a 2-0 defeat on them just three months ago. The Sky Blues have now put themselves back into pole position to obtain back-to-back league titles come May, with their recent blip against Newcastle nothing but a distant memory. City now look as though they're back to their best, however Chelsea's performance yesterday was an embarrassment, with manager Maurizio Sarri's future at the Bridge now looking incredibly uncertain.

ROLL OVER AND PLAY DEAD, THAT'S A GOOD BOY

Yesterday's heavy defeat was Chelsea's biggest since the 7-0 loss to Nottingham Forest in 1991, and came just 10 days after the club were humiliated 4-0 by Bournemouth away from home. Prior to that, the Blues also found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline against fellow top four chasers Arsenal and held to a goalless draw by relegation-threatened Southampton at Stamford Bridge - all of these results have taken place in 2019.

Things at Chelsea are terrible right now and boss Maurizio Sarri has got a lot to do if he's to remain in the hot seat for much longer. Yesterday's performance against the reigning Premier League champions highlighted everything wrong with this current Chelsea side: uninspired, unconfident, unprepared. They looked like a side from League Two pitting their wits against a big gun in an FA Cup clash, not a team who find themselves frequently talked about in the same breath as their rampant opponents.

Chelsea are supposed to be one of the few sides expected to give this almost flawless Manchester City side a really competitive match, and just three months ago that's exactly what they did when Sarris' squad beat Pep Guardiola's men 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, however yesterday they looked like they were a team battling relegation who knew they were never going to take anything from the match.

Careless in possession and wasteful on the attack, even the superstar that is Eden Hazard found it impossible to cause City's defence any kind of issue yesterday. A few mazy runs would have got only the most optimistic of fans excited that possibly a goal would be scored in the opposite net, but on the whole you would struggle to pick out a genuine effort on goal the Blues registered.

Gonzalo Higuain forced a decent save out of Edison when he lashed a volley goalwards late on in the first-half, which was only attempted in the first place because the Juventus loanee had no other options, but aside from that Chelsea offered absolutely nothing in the way of a response to the dominance displayed by Guardiola's invigorated hosts.

Hazard - Chelsea
Even Eden Hazard couldn't find a way through City's well organised back line yesterday.

SARRI'S STUBBORN TACTICS ARE DESTROYING CHELSEA

Maurizio Sarri's insistence on playing certain players in a certain position is having a damning affect on this Chelsea side. The Italian is an extremely defensive-minded coach who likes to play through the middle of the pitch. His favoured 4-3-3 formation - which sees room for only one holding midfielder shielding the defensive line - has been the biggest talking point in recent weeks.

Jorginho was bought in by Sarri last summer, having previously worked with him at Napoli and his arrival saw N'Golo Kante - arguably the best holding midfielder in world football - moved into a more attacking role within the midfield three alongside deep-lying playmakers Mateo Kovacic or Ross Barkley.

This move clearly isn't working for the Blues. Not only has Jorginho's involvement in games become extremely minimal, but it's also seen Kante's performance levels drop as he's being asked to play a different role in which he is nowhere near as effective in.

Yesterday was a prime example, Jorginho once again lined up as Chelsea's holding midfielder and either passed the ball sideways or gave it away, while Kante struggled to penetrate City's robust defensive line, also finding himself cheaply giving away possession.

Now, why would a manager stick with this approach against one of the best teams in the world if only 10 days ago the same midfield duo, playing to the exact same game plan, were completely unravelled by Bournemouth? It makes little to no sense.

'Sarri-Ball' worked in Italy, where the game is played out at a much slower tempo and there's time to probe through a stubborn back line without too much in the way of urgency, but in England it's clear that it's an outdated method which will only damage a team trying to compete against some of the world's most ruthless, fast-paced attacking sides.

The speed of Bournemouth's David Brooks and Josh King was enough to punish a sleeping Chelsea side who were startled by a team so quick on the counter at the end of last month. Yesterday, Raheem Sterling's pace, Bernardo Silva's trickery and Kevin de Bruyne's impeccable vision saw the Jorginho & Co once again exposed.

For as long as Sarri insists on sticking with this formation instead of playing his best players in their most effective positions, especially against the division's better sides, Chelsea will find themselves caught short.

HUDSON-ODOI MOVE TO GERMANY BLOCKED FOR WHAT?

One of the biggest travesty's at Chelsea is the situation surrounding 18-year-old starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi, who's proposed move to Bayern Munich was blocked by the club last month as the Blues couldn't agree a fee with the Bundesliga titans.

Hudson-Odoi is one of the biggest talents in the world right now and was deprived of the opportunity to kick on and establish himself at a huge club because his current employers refused to let him leave. There's nothing wrong with this of course, if you are intending to give the player sufficient game time in the future but Chelsea clearly aren't and never planned on doing so.

The England U19 international has been limited to just four substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, alongside two appearances in the Europa League and two appearances in the FA Cup, showing flashes of brilliance whenever he's given half a chance. The problem is that these chances have been few and far between and nothing looks like changing.

He wasn't even included in the matchday squad for the defeat to Bournemouth and watched on from the stands yesterday as his side were handed a beating at the Etihad. The fact that he himself handed a transfer request into his current employers last month tells it's own story; he knows that he won't get a look in at Chelsea as the manager is too set in his ways, too content with sticking with the same players that continue to let him down. So why would he want to stay, and more importantly why are Chelsea so adamant on keeping him if they've got no intention of playing him?

The future of Hudson-Odoi remains hanging in the balance, with it looking hugely likely that we'll see the back of him in the summer unless something changes drastically at Stamford Bridge. The same could be said for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who but for a 25 minute cameo when his side were already losing 5-0 yesterday has also seen first team opportunities in the Premier League extremely hard to come by, just so Sarri can continue to justify why he spent so much money on Jorginho last summer.

Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi's transfer request was blocked last month, but why?

"MY JOB IS ALWAYS AT RISK" - SARRI KNOWS HE COULD BE FACING THE CHOP

After yesterday's clash, Sarri was asked if he feared of losing his job, to which he replied: "I don't know" before admitting "my job is always at risk". The 59-year-old also went on to say to Sky Sports Italia: "If the president [Roman Abramovich] calls, I'll be happy, seeing as I never hear from him. To be honest, I don't know what to expect."

It's evident Sarri knows the ruthless nature of Abramovich could well put an end to his reign in charge of the Blues, just seven months after he joined the West London outfit.

Yesterday's hammering by City may weirdly work in Chelsea's favour however; it may act as the wake up call they so desperately need to change their game plan and approach to the rest of the campaign. The big test will come next weekend when they welcome Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's in form Manchester United to Stamford Bridge in the 5th round of the FA Cup, before another daunting clash with City in the final of the Carabao Cup at the end of the month.

The visit of title-chasing Tottenham follows for the Blues in the Premier League, alongside a potential banana skin in the Europa League when they face Swedish outfit Malmo over two legs. Should Chelsea come out of February without a victory then not only will Sarri's fate be decided for certain, but Chelsea's hopes of finishing in the top four will be thrown into even more doubt.

It's make or break now for Chelsea, with the season poised to go one of two ways. The Blues need to use the defeat by City as a learning curve and change everything: personnel, tactics - anything to get things back on track and ensure they don't completely lose sight of the top four.

Should Sarri carry on as normal though, ignoring the overwhelming issues that face his outdated methods then things will just continue to keep getting worse for a club who currently find themselves firmly in disarray.

Sarri
Chelsea are in desperate need of a change in direction.
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