Big­gest test for Sarri as stut­ter­ing Chelsea host City

Weekly Trust - - Sports -

It has taken less than two weeks for the op­ti­mism gen­er­ated by a 12-match un­beaten start to Maurizio Sarri’s reign at Stam­ford Bridge to fiz­zle out and this week­end the Ital­ian faces his big­gest test to date when Manch­ester City visit.

In fair­ness to the for­mer Napoli man­ager, he stressed through­out the heady days of early Au­tumn that Chelsea were not equipped to chal­lenge City for the ti­tle and ahead of Satur­day’s clash be­tween the sides a 10-point gap has opened up.

On Tues­day, Pep Guardi­ola’s City main­tained a sear­ing pace at the top with a win against Wat­ford. Twen­ty­four hours later Chelsea went down 2-1 at Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers their sec­ond de­feat in three Premier League games.

Sarri said his side had only played well for 55 min­utes at Wolves and knows they will have to be at full tilt for 90 min­utes on Satur­day evening if they are to have any chance of halt­ing the City jug­ger­naut.

He said he ex­pects a “big re­ac­tion” on Satur­day but al­ready ap­pears to have set­tled for a top-four scrap along with Lon­don ri­vals Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and Arse­nal rather than chas­ing down Liver­pool and cham­pi­ons City.

“Manch­ester City are in an­other cat­e­gory. We have to play and to fight to be in the top four,” Sarri said af­ter the set­back at Wolves.

“City are the best team in Europe, maybe the best in the world. They can win the Cham­pi­ons League.”

Chelsea in­spi­ra­tional player Eden Haz­ard cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing a goal.

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