Sarri's path to Europa League victory could rely on Hazard playing as a false nine

Aditya Devavrat 11:10 29/05/2019
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Maurizio Sarri has had a tough initiation to life in England but now there is a chance to end his first season as Chelsea manager with a trophy as they take on Arsenal in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

The Italian’s basic tactical gameplan rarely changes as he has become synonymous with a possession-based system and a 4-3-3 formation that never varies, but even within that rigid structure there are tweaks Sarri can make to ensure the Blues end the season on a high.

Here’s a look at the strategies that could bring Chelsea European glory again. Take a look at our tactical preview of Arsenal here.

HAZARD TO SIGN OFF AS FALSE NINE ONE LAST TIME?

It would be ironic if Eden Hazard’s final game in a Chelsea shirt came essaying a role he has privately railed against having to perform. Admittedly, his complaints about playing as a false nine came more when he was forced into that position in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 system; it’s worked better for him and the team under Sarri.

There have been times when the lack of a frontman to play off of has reduced Hazard’s effectiveness, but Arsenal might be vulnerable to the tactic. Whether they play with a back four or a three, the Gunners would struggle to deal with the fluidity a Hazard-centric attack would provide.

JORGINHO CAN EXPLOIT ARSENAL’S POROUS DEFENCE

Arsenal had the second-worst defence of the Premier League’s top six this season. No matter who they select at the back, even if it’s not Shkodran Mustafi, they have shown the propensity to leak goals as they leave space in behind the full-backs as well as through the middle.

Good thing Chelsea have a player adept at finding the gaps and picking the right pass. Jorginho has endured a season of criticism and this game could be the perfect opportunity to silence the doubters.

With midfield runners either side of him and players who will enjoy roaming into spaces out wide, the midfielder will have plenty of targets to aim for with his pinpoint passing. Jorginho could end up being the key player of this match.

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