Formation, Style, Tactics – How Maurizio Sarri would shake up Chelsea after Antonio Conte reign



Maurizio Sarri seems to have been joined by Laurent Blanc as the leading candidates to take over from Antonio Conte this summer with the Chelsea boss set to leave Stamford Bridge after two years at the club.

During his time so far the Blues manager has brought two major trophies to the club, including the Premier League in his first season, but it is still likely that the board are ready to replace Conte this summer.

Conte still has a season left on his current contract, which Conte has stated that he is willing to ‘respect’ but also stated that he will accept any decision made by the club over his future.

But would Sarri really be an upgrade on his fellow Italian, or should Blanc be the one that Chelsea should really be looking at, despite the fact he has not been in a job for the last two years.

Here is what style Sarri would bring to Chelsea and why he should still be the man, over Blanc, to start a new revolution at the Blues.

With Antonio Conte the majority of his success last season came with three at the back and his preferred formation would be the 3-4-3. During the most current campaign, however, Conte often switched to a 3-5-2, playing with the extra midfield option that would try to bring a bit more stability to the middle of the park.

However, that would make Eden Hazard play just behind Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud, and for some that would be a waste of Hazard’s skills as he would often be more dangerous coming in off that left flank and using his pace, with the overlap of Marcos Alonso, so that defenders struggled to keep a grip on him.

Three at the back also at times got found out as teams became more used to Conte’s formation and would work out how to stop Chelsea from playing their way out from the back.

Meanwhile, Sarri prefers to set up in a 4-3-3 style, something similar to the way that Jurgen Klopp sets up Liverpool during his time at Anfield.

With a defensive midfielder holding, it allows two more box-to-box midfielders to help defence and attack, while the three up front can be more fluid in their play to create things going foward.

Sarri also likes to play out from the back, with the two centre-backs spreading wide and one of the midfielders, usually Jorginho, looking to get get the ball from the goalkeeper to build from there.

Something that Chelsea fans have become slightly frustrated with about Conte is the more negative style of approach that seems to be the way this season has gone.

Away at Manchester City the Blues sat completely back and with Eden Hazard playing as a false nine there was no exit at all and it was only a matter of time until the champions broke them down.

There are times it works, absolutely, but for the fans watching, and for owner Roman Abramovich looking on, it wasn’t really the fluid, attacking football that some would have hoped for.

Meanwhile, Sarri’s approach with Napoli is quite different. Just like at Chelsea at the moment, the full-backs like to get very high and almost add as another winger, with the two wide men cutting inside.

When they lose the ball, just like Pep Guardiola at City, Sarri likes his side to win the ball back as quickly as possible with high pressing and the players, when they have the ball, are allowed to be more free in their positioning and attack.

Conte described himself after the FA Cup final as a ‘serial winner’ and to be fair to him, he is absolutely right. The Italian won three Serie A titles with Juventus and then the Premier League in his first season, before clinching the world’s oldest cup competition on Saturday.

You have to say that is where Conte has the edge over Sarri, who is yet to win any major trophy as a manager, but was named Serie A Manager of the Season for the 2016/17 campaign.

Looking back at his managerial career, it is not a real surprise that is the case with the teams that he has been in charge with and dominance of Juventus over the past few seasons.

That is one area that the Chelsea fan base or the Chelsea board might be concerned about, as Chelsea would be letting go a manager who has a background of winning titles, for one that is yet to do so.

Whereas Blanc did clinch the Ligue 1 title with PSG, along with winning the World Cup as a player with France, meaning that he has a real knowledge of how to win trophies, something vital at Chelsea.