Can Chelsea remain in the top 4?
Following Chelsea’s 0-2 defeat to London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday evening, the Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has conveyed his frustration at how his players lacked composure and the mental aggression to take on the Gunners.
Despite speaking English, Sarri chose to hold the post-match interview in Italian (with the assistance of a translator) so as to avoid getting his words misconstrued by some players, per online sportsbook news.
“Today I prefer to speak Italian first of all because I want to send a message to my players and I want my message to be very clear,” said the former Napoli boss. “I don’t want to make a mistake with my English.”
“I have to say that I’m extremely angry, very angry indeed, because this defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else. We played against a team that was mentally far more determined that we were, and this is something I cannot accept.”
“It seems to me that as a group of players they are not particularly aggressive from a mental point of view. They don’t have ferocity in their mentality.”
Higuain to the rescue?
Chelsea are in the process of getting Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain on loan, as they’re in dire need of a proven goalsocrer if they want to remain in the top 4 of the Premier League.
Sarri and Higuain worked together during the Argentine’s last season at Napoli (2015/16), which saw him equal the long-standing Serie A record of 36 league goals that has stood since 1928/29, made by Torino’s legendary player Gino Rossetti.
The following season Juventus broke the Serie A record for the most expensive transfer in the league’s history by agreeing to pay Napoli a whopping €90m for the striker. His first season saw him score 32 goals overall, while in his second he found the back of the net 23 times – not bad for a striker, although more was expected of him.
But things soon changed for Higuain when the Turin side made a huge investment in bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, which meant that there was no room for the Argentine (mainly due to financial reasons to balance the books, but it also meant it would affect the starting line-up).
AC Milan took up the chance to get Higuain on loan, a move that has yielded 8 goals in 22 appearance across all competitions – a far cry from his numbers at Napoli. Nonetheless, Sarri is convinced he can bring back Higuain’s form at Chelsea, to what made him the most expensive player in Serie A history at one point, per online sportsbooks in UK.
The Italian boss would have to make a number of changes in his line-up to accommodate the way Higuain plays, as he’s practically a striker that waits for the ball to come to him so he can score; his specialty seems to be finding space for himself in the box, but for that to work at Chelsea the current group of players would have to be far more active and ‘aggressive’ as Sarri had stressed after the Arsenal defeat.