Sarri's high-flying Chelsea now face crucial big test

Sarri's high-flying Chelsea now face crucial big test
Sarri's high-flying Chelsea now face crucial big test

Four wins out of four, and Chelsea sit pretty atop the Premier League.

In their latest victory, over Bournemouth, Chelsea chipped away at a very well organised Eddie Howe side: eventually finding the gaps to take the points in the last 20 minutes.

Howe arguably put in the best tactical display Chelsea have faced so far this season: frustrating Blues in the first hour, with a set-up that combined the defensive resolve shown by Newcastle a week earlier, with real danger on the break.

For many sides in the league this may become the blueprint against Chelsea: one for which Sarri is already prepared, with his insistence being that his side has a long way to go in learning his system.

The season's first international break now provides the pause before the fixture planners up things a notch.

Until now, this side in development has been blessed with a soft landing into the new season.

Huddersfield, an Arsenal that had yet to find its stride, Newcastle and Bournemouth: if Chelsea could have picked their opening schedule, this might have been it.

Continuing with a home match against Cardiff, a side whose only points have come in the form of goalless shut outs against Huddersfield and Newcastle, the standard of opposition continues in the same vein.

But it is the rapidity of the schedule which takes a step up from mid-September.

From there on in should Chelsea remain in all competitions, and excluding the disruption of further pauses for international action, the next empty midweek is not for four months.

Over that space of time, 29 games, the opposition is a bit more varied than that which Sarri has been blessed thus far.

That's the whole Europa League group stage, a route very nearly to Wembley in the League Cup, a first stroll that way in the FA Cup, and no less than 54 league points (four more, lest we forget, than Chelsea's total in over twice as many games, three seasons back).

Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City are all likely to seek more progressive and aggressive ways to break-up Sarri's side.

Some light relief should be offered by the Europa League. Though the trips thrown up by the draw – to PAOK (Greece), BATE (Belarus) and Vidi (Hungary) - may seem arduous; the opposition should not be.

Each of those sides should be easy meat for a set of players this able, and a coach this experienced in UEFA competition.

And here is an area where Sarri has a decision to make.

His preferred XI, with the occasional change, has been growing in stature game by game.

But the quickfire schedule to come will switch much of his off-pitch development time for a steady rotation of pre-match preparation.

Much of that development time will now come in the crunch atmosphere of the match itself.

Ideally, this might be a time to delve deeper into his squad: but if he rotates in that way, will it be at the expense of more finely honing his chosen set of tools?

Essentially, once Sarri gets his players back from this break, the gloves are off.

It is in this stretch we will learn how strong a challenge can be made on regaining that Champions League slot.

And how close Sarri might come, in his debut season in English football, to breaking that unenviable personal career-long trophy duck.

These are the months when Sarri's Chelsea will truly emerge.

This article was written by cool news network.

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