Chelsea Need to Change Tactics to Beat Man City – Sarri

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Maurizio Sarri thinks the way Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City play forces Chelsea to change tactics, leading to Eden Hazard playing in the central striker role.

Hazard has expressed his preference for playing as a winger in the past, but Sarri likes to move the Belgian to the centre in games where his team cannot dominate possession as they usually do.

Chelsea beat City 2-0 at home in December when Hazard played in the ‘false nine’ role and, ahead of Sunday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium, Sarri has hinted at another tactical switch against Pep Guardiola’s side.

“At the moment the situation is different. We have another striker [Higuain instead of Morata],” Sarri told reporters at Cobham Training Centre. “We can make another decision. But I don’t know; maybe we will play with a ‘false nine’. I have to decide.

“The situation is not like the other match, so I can decide something different or have a ‘false nine’. I expect Guardiola’s team want to always be in control of the match, always in possession of the ball and they’re able to do it. So, it’s a very difficult match.

“We are used to having the ball and possession so, on Sunday, it will be very different. Maybe we have to defend lower. [In December] they were able to press us in our half. It wasn’t a choice. It was a necessity. So, I think on Sunday it will be the same.

“You know very well that the midfield of Manchester City is one of the best in the world, not only Fernandinho but also Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, David Silva. Technically, they’re the best midfield in Europe at the moment, so it will be really very difficult to be in control of the match.

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Jorginho will be at the centre of the midfield battle and Guardiola had instructed City to try to sign the Italy international in the summer, only for Chelsea to land him for £57 million in their deal to also bring Sarri in from Napoli – and the midfielder has struggled since arriving in England, being man-marked successfully by a host of sides.


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