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What to expect from Chelsea under Sarri next season

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri arrived at Stamford Bridge on July 14 and has been implementing his system to the players – ‘Sarri-ball’ it’s known by at Chelsea, with the aim of retaining high levels of possession but attacking fast when a chink in the opponent’s armour is spotted.

Sarri’s former club Napoli got the ball from back to front faster than most teams last season and that’s how Chelsea could look in 2018/19. The Blues are training hard to develop their one-touch football and ability to play the ball out of the back.

Training sessions during pre-season tour in Australia Daily Mail

  • 11-a-side game, 10 minutes per half. First half: 4-2-3–1 formation. Second half: 4-3-3 formation. Jorginho the orchestrator on one side, Cesc Fabregas on the other.
  • Practising counter-attacks. Timed tests of how quick a set of players can get from one end of the pitch to the other. One touch per player until it gets to the striker.
  • One-touch passing at the back until Sarri blows his whistle, then ball has to be played to Jorginho or Cesc Fabregas, followed by a quick all-out attack. Always finished with a tap-in from a low cross.
  • Set-pieces. Primarily how to defend but forwards told to observe.
  • Shooting practise. Coach sets up a striker from different angles and he has to score, taking no more than two touches.

When Chelsea attack, they break with speed. The aim is to get the ball from back to front in less than 10 seconds. Sarri is desperate for this to become second nature. In possession, the aim is to keep the ball in tight confines and pull their opponents out of position. Without the ball, Chelsea have been practicing a high press, trying to win the ball high up the pitch.

Jorginho’s signing from Napoli could be key to Chelsea successfully implementing Sarri-ball. He played under the 59-year-old last season and will be the chief orchestrator in the middle of the park. New teammate Marcos Alonso was full of praise for the playmaker.

He told the club’s official website: “(Jorginho) is used to playing this way and he is going to be a great help for everybody. He is giving us tips to get used to this way of playing. He moves very well on the pitch, he plays with confidence, and since day one he has looked good.”

“We are working on a new formation, a new style that he is asking of us. He wants us to press high, he wants the team to be together, to have possession of the ball. For a week we have been training very hard and trying to learn new things.”

Chelsea’s opening game of the new season sees them travel to the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town on August 11.

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