Sarri Faces Tough Chelsea Assignment
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It took Chelsea nearly 2 months but this week finally football's worst kept secret was in open air as the Premier League side sacked title winning manager Antonio Conte and replaced him with fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri, formely of Napoli. The 59 year old has signed a three-year-deal with the West London club and, should he see out the length of his contract, would become the second longest serving Chelsea manager in the Abramovich era, with only Jose Mourinho lasting longer during his first spell. Sarri replaces in Conte, a manager who reinspired Chelsea on his arrival, galvanising a side that finished 10th the season prior to his arrival to league winners, winning 30 games. Conte's change to a three at the back system during a hammering away at Arsenal early in his reign will be remembered as his legacy in the Premier League, inspiring not only other sides but even national teams including England to use versions of the sysem to such great effect. Conte's political bickerings however with the board, that began last summer, started a downfall which could only be seen with one result, especially mixed in with Chelsea's poor form on the pitch, which saw them finish outside the top four for the second time in three seasons. Sarri's task hasn't been made any easier by the fact he has rouhgly three weeks to prepare his side before facing Manchester City in the Community Shield. The services of players such as Eden Hazard and N'golo Kante (should they both remain at the club) won't be avaialble until the week leading up to the game with the club granting them extended leave following long World Cup's. The failings of Chelsea in the transfer market is what ultimatley led to the breakdown between themselves and Conte. Changes to the window now mean an early Augusyt deadline, which doesn't make things any easier for Sarri, who now has three weeks to put together his squad and won't have them all toegther until days before the season actually kicks off.
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