It has been a mixed season for Chelsea; currently they are sitting in a respectable sixth place in the table, but of course, the aim will be to finish in the top four. Third and fourth place are hotly contested this season with Tottenham, Man U and Arsenal all within reaching distance.
The places are currently held by Arsenal and Spurs respectively, but just one point behind Chelsea stands a good chance of finishing in the all-important Champion’s League places.
Set in his ways and rigid are just two of the terms that get bandied about when Italian Maurizio Sarri’s name gets mentioned. There is a large sector of fans that have made it painfully clear that they do not want him in charge of their beloved club anymore and at Sunday’s match the chants were clear for all to hear. ‘We want Sarri out’ being the most publishable of the insults, some of which were not friendly at all.
Fans are even threatening to boycott the remaining games of the season unless they get assurances that he will go when the season ends. Ticket sales are already down and serving as evidence of the strength of feeling among the supporters.
This is not the first time the fans have objected to their manager, in 2013 it was now Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez that bore the brunt of their hatred despite a top-four finish and a win in the Europa League. Their dislike of him stemmed from comments he made about the club during his time at Anfield, so he was pretty fated from the day he took the reins.
There were high hopes for Sarri, but over the season he has refused to change his pattern of play and stuck rigidly to his own brand of substitution despite other players making sense. Some players have been benched way too much, and others have gotten play when they do very little to strengthen the game.
He has pledged to make changes and backed this up by promising the fans that he will allow Callum Hudson-Odoi to start the match against Brighton and probably continue this to the West Ham fixture but are his promises too late?
He has shot himself in the foot somewhat as he has also confirmed that he will not change his methods which has gone down like the proverbial lead balloon.
It looks like he won’t get many popularity points by giving with one hand and taking away with the other so at this stage fans are not going to let up on the pressure to get him removed. There is no clear answer as to who might take up the reins for Chelsea if this was to happen, so all we can say is watch this space.