Eden Hazard, Sarri’s secret weapon vs Manchester City

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri revealed his biggest tactical modification was Eden Hazard’s position, the key to beating Manchester City.

Now that several hours have passed after the spectacle that was Chelsea vs Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, we can further analyze what Maurizio Sarri did with Eden Hazard throughout the match in order to completely dominate the Citizens despite having less ball possession than Pep Guardiola’s side.

We already had a sensation that he would be one of the few people who could break the code that the Catalan manager uses to perfection, that overwhelming offensive style which makes almost every manager scratch their head trying to decipher how to overcome such ferocity from Manchester City’s attacking lines.

Sarri knew very well that in order to defeat his opponents on Saturday, the Blues would have to reach perfection and make very few mistakes in their own stadium.

Essentially, Chelsea FC would need to have a perfect day and they would have to rely on several aspects that we are going to talk about on this small analysis.

But even if we are going to mention certain players who helped Sarri’s ideas get executed, the constant in all of this was Eden Hazard and the way in which the manager decided to use the number ’10’.

We’ll start with the back line, with goalkeeper Kepa, defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz.

Those three players were on point pretty much throughout the whole 90 minutes, their contribution helped to stop Manchester City’s constant attacking from the wings and made the players up front feel more secure because they knew that all they needed were a few chances in order to hurt Guardiola’s team.

The other key figures were both Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, both midfielders who had the nearly impossible task to take the ball away from Manchester City or at least try to obstruct fluidity amongst the Citizens’ in their area of the pitch.

Fortunately for Chelsea, both Luiz and Kante were fortunate enough to score the only goals of the match in order to deliver an all-around stellar performance from each of those players.

The Frenchman got to score the first goal thanks to a fantastic Eden Hazard play, then Luiz managed to connect a cross with his head during the second half and completely killed any hopes the Citizens had of getting back in the game.

But for manager Maurizio Sarri, the key to Chelsea’s victory was the usage of Eden Hazard during the match.

The Italian manager actually took a page from the Pep Guardiola rulebook, as he decided to use the Belgian winger as a false ‘9’ and completely changed the outcome of the game.

In order to make things happen for the Blues, Sarri knew that he had to sacrifice some players and Alvaro Morata was the main absence in Chelsea’s starting eleven.

But the boss explained his decision after the match by saying this about Hazard: “He had some problems at the beginning of the match, but I think he played really a very great second half. Maybe he deserved to score,” he said on BT Sport.

“I think it’s a very good option. We will play like today in the future for some matches of course.”

“The reason was clear. We played with Hazard as a striker. So if we have to change something there was Giroud,” Sarri added.

“I think it was useless to have two strikers on the bench and I prefer to have more midfielders.”

“I was in trouble with the wingers. The only option was Loftus [Ruben Loftus-Cheek]. I prefer this,” he concluded.

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