Will Sarri get the sack after a 6-0 thrashing, or is he safe for now?
By Joe Harker
Chelsea's 6-0 defeat to Manchester City was their worst result since losing 7-0 to Nottingham Forest in 1991. It was also their worst ever result in the Premier League, eclipsing such margins of defeat as the 5-1 loss to Liverpool in the 1996/97 season and the 4-0 against Bournemouth in January.
Maurizio Sarri has now been responsible for Chelsea's first and second worst Premier League results. Taken with the suspicion that star forward Eden Hazard wants to leave and slipping out of the top four it has been a thoroughly miserable time for the club.
There are suggestions that Sarri could lose his job before the end of the season, having struggled to impose his style of play on the team and criticised the players for not always trying. Chelsea have never been a club to stick by a manager through thick and thin and Sarri has said he doesn't even speak to owner Roman Abramovich.
James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph believes Sarri is struggling to hang onto his job if Chelsea's history with managers is anything to be believed.
The London club have hired and fired constantly and the Italian manager should remember the fates of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas, sacked before the end of their first season after the fans and players had already lost faith in their leadership.
Sarri is shaping up to follow in their footsteps. Big defeats to Bournemouth and City have kept debates over the playing style going and questions are being asked of the manager that won't go away.
Players out of position and key figures underperforming can be answered with: "because that's how Sarri needs to have it". Building a style of play around Jorginho, just as he did at Napoli, and having the midfielder struggle is further evidence to those who think whatever the manager is trying will not succeed.
If the manager can't motivate his players or get them adopting a style close to what he wants then what exactly is he bringing to the team?
The Counter Claim:
Three time Premier League champion Ray Parlour believes Sarri will be safe until the end of the season at the very least.
He understands that managers don't get the time they once did, but argues that Chelsea must give Sarri a proper chance and at least wait until the end of the season before they make a decision on his future.
Jonathan Wilson of The Guardian writes that Sarri is a manager who will succeed given time and support, questioning whether Chelsea are a club that will give him these things.
Calling Chelsea "an impatient club", Wilson argues that appointing Sarri means signing up to a long term plan that involves giving the manager players he wants. Chelsea appointed Sarri and they should therefore give him a real opportunity to succeed rather than hastily judging his progress before one season is done.
Other managers with a clearly defined style of play have needed more than a season before it started to bear fruit. City manager Pep Guardiola had his worst ever league finish during his first season in England and questions were asked over his playing style but he signed more players and the lessons he was trying to teach continued to develop over time, leading to a record breaking title win.
Sarri might not do anything so dramatic but he hasn't been given enough time to get his style up and running at Chelsea. Did the club expect he'd have everything sorted after half a season?
Discounting caretaker managers who took charge for just one game (i.e. Ray Wilkins and Steve Holland) Chelsea have been through 11 head coaches since Jose Mourinho's first stint at the club came to an end. None besides Mourinho in his second stint have lasted longer than two seasons. Seven of those managers, including Sarri, did not even make it past one full season.
On the evidence of history Chelsea are a short term team that hasn't bought into long term projects or given a manager sufficient time to set down a style of play and change the squad to suit that style. Sarri is a manager who needs that time and backing, if Chelsea aren't prepared to provide it then it was a mistake for them to appoint him in the first place.