After having a glance at a cloud of nine, Maurizio Sarri’s life has turned into a living hell at Chelsea. Despite a huge summer spending, the London club sit outside the Champions League qualification spot and have been inconsistent in their Europa League run let alone the domestic cups.
The former banker has found it hard to reap dividends from his roster and his relationship with them has been questioned all season long. After a defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup, this relationship has reached a breaking point. Interestingly, the current crop of Chelsea stars have the same personnel that forced Jose Mourinho to leave Stanford Bridge three years ago, and Sarri looks destined to a similar fate.
Nonetheless, only a few managers are brave enough to take a Chelsea job, and Sarri being one of them may stay until the end of the season. Despite this, there are serious problems in the Chelsea locker room. Let us have a look at the top three players who have had a sour relationship with Sarri.
1) Cesar Azpilicueta:
Cesar Azpilicueta joined arrived at the Bridge in the summer of 2012. Since moving from Marseille, the Spanish international has slowly transformed into Chelsea most consistent defender. Azpilicueta has been a rock at the back for Chelsea, and he has served as Sarri’s General for much of this season.
Despite this, he reportedly had a quarrel during training with Sarri following Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Arsenal in January. Over the last four seasons, the Spaniard had missed just two league games. He is still 29 and has just yet kicked into his peak and is a potential regular starter at the Bridge for next five year.
2) Marcos Alonso:
Sarri after taking over as the manager of Chelsea in last summer had declared Marcos Alonso as the best fullback in Europe. The Spanish fullback had started his 18/19 season in the usual way, scoring early in the season and playing a crucial part in supporting forwards. However, Alonso has struggled to be stable in the last five months. A poor run of form has also resulted in the 28-year-old losing his spot to a much younger Emerson in the Chelsea starting lineup for the first time in two years.
Alonso has questioned the Sarri-ball on several occasions. The ex-Sunderland player was left out of the squad against Manchester City on Sunday. This may be a hint to a bust-up, and hence Alonso might find himself on the bench for rest of the season.
3) Kepa Arrizabalaga:
The League Cup Final of 2019 was a dull affair until the moment when Sarri and Kepa had a bust-up. The incident took over Manchester City’s win and has become a point of discussion amongst the critics of the game.
With the game destined for a penalty shootout, the Chelsea manager decided to replace Kepa with penalty stopper Willy Caballero. Shockingly, the first-choice goalkeeper refused to come off the pitch, and after a passionate outburst, the Italian Chelsea manager decided to abandon the plan.
It is hard to imagine how Kepa and Sarri will fix their relationship, especially after the Spanish international showed disrespect to his manager.