Maurizio Sarri has not had the instant impact Chelsea expect of new managers with the club one point worse off than last year

 
Michael Searles
Chelsea FC v Southampton FC - Premier League
Maurizio Sarri has amassed less points after 21 games than Antonio Conte did last year before being sacked (Source: Getty)

Chelsea's blueprint for success under Roman Abramovich's ownership has been dependent on new managers and signings having an immediate impact, with the high turnover of personnel a trade-off in the pursuit of instant results.


But after a promising start, those instant results have begun to desert manager Maurizio Sarri, with the Blues one point worse off then they were when Antonio Conte was in charge last season.

A draw at home to struggling Southampton on Wednesday saw Chelsea start the New Year in a similar disappointing manner to which they ended 2018. Their inconsistency has seen them continue to drop points, losing to both Wolves and Leicester in December, although they did enjoy a rousing home win over Manchester City in the same month.

Worse off than last year

They sit in fourth place in the Premier League with 44 points from 21 games, one fewer than Conte – who would later be sacked – had managed to accumulate by this stage last year.


Conte also led Chelsea to the Carabao Cup semi-final last year where his side would lose to Arsenal, before claiming an FA Cup final win over Manchester United. Neither were enough to save his job.

Sarri has reached the same stage of the Carabao Cup and this year Chelsea will face Tottenham, with the first leg on Tuesday, while their FA Cup campaign is also set to begin this weekend against Nottingham Forest.

While Chelsea are still in all four competitions – including the Europa League, which they are favourites to win – they have fallen out of touch with the domestic league leaders.

Overall then, the former Napoli coach faces a stiff challenge to emulate Conte's achievements from last season, let alone better them.

Sarri has not had the instant impact predicted by history when Abramovich opted to change his manager for the 12th time in his 15-year tenure.

Instant impact

Conte was one of three coaches – along with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti – to lead Chelsea to Premier League titles in their first season in charge.

Those league titles account for three of the five won during Abramovich's reign, while the other two were won by Mourinho in the second seasons of both of his spells in charge.

No manager has won a major trophy for the club in anything later than their second season, with triumphs in the Champions League and Europa League both coming under the interim management of Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez respectively.

It hasn't just been the manager merry-go-round that has been Chelsea's formula for success but also their willingness to splash out on some of the world's best players, rather than growing a team over several years.

Looking ahead

The signing of United States attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic for £57.6m from Borussia Dortmund this week offered a further reminder of that approach.

Chelsea have been reluctant to field young talent themselves in part due to the pressure for instant results and it is a move that suggests Sarri and Abramovich are focused on making next season more of a success than this one looks set to be.

The Blues are looking to rectify their increasing reliance on Eden Hazard, who has this year scored and assisted considerably more than anyone else.

With 12 goals Hazard has as many as main strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud combined, and the nine assists to his name is far superior to anyone else in the side. Summer signing Jorginho is yet to register a single one.

Pulisic looks the kind of talented player Chelsea need to be signing to complement Hazard if they are to challenge for the title next season, but if he is intended to be a replacement for the Belgian, then it has to be considered a step backwards.

It makes sense for the club since Hazard has not committed his future to Stamford Bridge and has just a year and a half left on his contract, but they may need to make more signings than just the 20-year-old American if they are to compete with City and Liverpool.