Maurizio Sarri has to be breathing a BIG sigh of relief.
It shouldn’t last too long.
The good news
Chelsea’s win at Watford on Matchday 37 combined with exceedingly poor performances from Manchester United and Arsenal means that the Blues secure a top 4 spot in the Premier League. They have an automatic entry into the 2019-20 Champions League.
That’s the good news. Considering where they were at varying points of the season, it’s very good news indeed.
The bad news?
Well…Sarri is still in charge unless the rumors of AS Roma taking him away materialize (take that as you will, it is silly season).
Chelsea still have no technical director in place.
The transfer ban hasn’t been overturned (but Christian Pulisic can still come!), which leaves the Blues challenged with making the best of what they have on the bench today.
But wait, there’s more! Gary Cahill is seeking greener pastures (which makes sense, as Sarri hasn’t shown him the pitch often), among other potential transfers, of course leading to…
Last but certainly not least, Chelsea’s best player (and arguably one of the best in the Premier League, despite PFA voting) Eden Hazard is almost certainly leaving for Real Madrid.
Twitter-centric folks will also be quick to note that the Blues have bombed out of the FA Cup, EFL Cup, and Community Shield. With the UCL qualification in hand, it might do Sarri some good to rest his best vs Leicester City this Sunday. Chelsea still have a Europa League trophy to play for this season. They are odds-on favorites to claim the title. FanDuel Sportsbook NJ has them priced at -135. Arsenal follows at +165. While soccer is fluky and random, you’ve gotta like Chelsea’s chances if those two square off. Chelsea has the better team and will have the best player in Hazard.
Would UCL qualification plus a Europa League win make this first season under Sarri a success? It should. The two men he’s staring up at in the Premier League table–Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp–didn’t accomplish that much in their first seasons at Manchester City and Liverpool.