Maurizio Sarri explains why he hasn’t played Eden Hazard as a false 9 until now

Chelsea deployed Eden Hazard as a false 9 against Manchester City om Saturday, something that some people had been predicting Maurizio Sarri would try for some time.

The basis for that is that the Italian coach did similar things at Napoli, with Dries Mertens converted into a deadly striker under Sarri at Napoli.

But at Chelsea, despite being lumbered with a useless set of forwards, he’s so far resisted the temptation to do so until this weekend. Why? He explained in his post-match interview.

“We thought yesterday that for the first time in the season that there was a possibility to have more spaces – so we wanted to try with Eden – because for the first time there was a possibility to play on the counter-attack,” Sarri said in quotes carried by

So Manchester City were the first team to attack us enough to justify playing three quick players up front?

You might have thought the Liverpool and Arsenal games would have been, at least. And what about the disastrous Tottenham game two weeks ago?

We could have seen it in any of those games, but with the team winning it wasn’t really necessary – now we’ll see whether the wily Neapolitan is tempted to carry on.