Maurizio Sarri: Chelsea not yet Premier League contenders

Sherman Parsons
August 21, 2018

But the 25-year-old Spain global, who was left out of the country's World Cup squad, was on target in Chelsea's 3-2 win over London rivals Arsenal in Premier League action on Saturday.

Goals from Pedro Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata gave Chelsea a deserved 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes of Saturday's London derby against Arsenal, with the Blues completely in control as they repeatedly carved open their opponents at will.

Arsenal were level by half-time as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi netted.

Chelsea's new coach Maurizio Sarri has offered mixed assessments of Morata's performances since taking charge in July, admitting in preseason that he was still waiting to see the best version of his first-choice striker.

Sarri's side have maximum points from their opening two games under the Italian, but made life hard for themselves after racing into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes through Pedro Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata.

Asked if he sees Chelsea as potential title challengers, Sarri said candidly: "Not in this moment".

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"I think in the second half we did very well from our mental point of view".

"We did very well for 75 minutes but inside that, 15 minutes [when Arsenal scored twice] were awful". I want to play and have the ball at my feet. According to this line of thought, Chelsea were solving one of Real Madrid's problems by contributing to the development of a player in whom they themselves had no long-term stake.

"The defensive phase of all the team, all players".

Hazard started on the bench again, with Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri managing the winger's minutes after his World Cup exertions with Belgium. We need to be more compact. In that 15 minutes we were not able to do this.

Both sides tightened up after the break, but Sarri had the trump card when he introduced Hazard in the final quarter for a match-winning cameo. "I'm happy here, I do not want to talk about that yet", he told RMC Sport after Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-2.

Chelsea have been negotiating a new deal with Hazard for some time, though he is yet to sign, causing some fans to fear that he will run down his contract to force through a move just as Thibaut Courtois has done. As I said earlier I'm feeling really good and I want to keep it that way.

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