Its only nine weeks into his maiden Premier League season and Chelsea’s Italian boss have been required to dig deep to get result twice. On both occasions at Stamford Bridge against two of the top six teams, Chelsea showed an air of arrogance that could have cost them six points against two teams who aren’t even at their best.
Considering Sarri wasn’t privileged to spend quality time with his team, the turnaround in style and current position on the log is hugely commendable. However, they could be forced to rue missed opportunities at the end of the season; three draws in five league encounters reeks of inconsistency.
Sarri’s biggest concern will be relieving Eden Hazard of the responsibility of scoring and getting his forwards: Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata to chip in more goals. The Spaniard led the attack on Saturday and was presented with a chance to make it 2-0 early in the second half, but he largely passed the ball into the waiting arms of David De Gea.
Having failed to take advantage of the early slump of fellow top four contenders; Man United, Arsenal and Tottenham, Chelsea could easily find themselves in fourth place by Tuesday morning, two points off the top despite going into the weekend joint table toppers.
A classic Manchester United marred by last minute scuffle
Another visit to Stamford Bridge, another failed attempt to come off with a win, this time, by whiskers.
Jose got his tactics spot on, the players looked like they clearly followed his instruction this time. With such level of commitment from the group, United will be out of the mess pretty soon.
On Saturday, both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford pegged Chelsea’s fullbacks, denying the home side the chance to overload United backline with the former scoring a brace.
Manchester United looked set to walk away with a win, their first on the ground since the famous 2-3 win in 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge, and a win would have made it only the third time the Red Devils have won on the ground since the turn of the century. Well, not this time, and a win would have been deserved. Mourinho himself has not won on the ground since he did with Inter Milan in 2010.
Is Jose suffering from dementia? Definitely not. I don’t know too many people who will keep their cool when you’re taunted by an opposing team. And raising three fingers to the Chelsea supporters who booed him? Perhaps they have to be reminded that he has won more league titles at Chelsea than every other manager the club have appointed since he joined in 2004 combined, and there are an awful lot of names on that list.
Magical Cristiano Ronaldo
By the time Cristiano Ronaldo retires from football, the new generation of footballers will be aiming at records without the name “Cristiano Ronaldo” at the top.
Having overcome his slow start in Italy, he has taken his tally to 5 in 9 league games with a couple of assists to add. He’s not running away with the capocannoniere just yet, that’s firmly for Piatek, at least for now. But Cristiano’s goal took his league tally to 400, thus cementing his place in history as the first man to ever score 400 league goals in Europe’s top five leagues.
The ball goes in, but there is serious problem at Real Madrid now
This historic crop at Réal Madrid that completed a historic UEFA Champions League feat five months ago find themselves in the most unimaginable position ever. Having gone 491 minutes before Marcelo’s rocket against Levante on Saturday, they have set a record for the worst goalless run in the history of the club.
Who would have thought that Réal Madrid will ever be in this spot? With all that cash in the bank, quality on the pitch both individually and collectively, they struggle. Is the board’s decision to wait to get Neymar or Hazard on a cheap coming back to hunt this group who put in a lot of effort? Réal Madrid hit the woodwork thrice on Saturday – same number of times in the defeat at CSKA Moscow – had two goals rightly chalked off but massively let down by two rookie errors from Raphael Varane: holder of four UCL winner’s medals and a World Cup winning medal. Coaching can’t fix that.
Up next is the el clasico, (un)fortunately with Lionel Messi sidelined having suffered an awkward shoulder injury in Barca’s 4-2 win over Sevilla. Réal Madrid has the Champions League to find their footing again.
The last time Réal Madrid suffered a similar drought: Ramon Calderon was President, Juande Ramos coach and a star line-up that included Raul Gonzalez, Higuain, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Ruud Van Nistelrooy. That summer, out went the president, his coach and the Dutch trio; in came Florentino Perez, Manuel Pellegrini, Kaka, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
And giving Perez’s ruthless precedence, Julen Lopetegui may well be out of job if Real Madrid don’t win at the Camp Nou by weekend, he is currently the coach with the worst start to life at Réal Madrid.