Chelsea fans are not too sure about Maurizio Sarri reverting to a tactic that didn’t go so well for his predecessor Antonio Conte last season.
The Blues take on Brighton this afternoon and are once again not fielding a natural centre-forward, as they did in their win over Manchester City.
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Sarri has instead opted to use winger Eden Hazard up front as a ‘false nine’, which is becoming an increasingly popular tactic around Europe.
Sarri himself used something similar at former club Napoli, moving Dries Mertens from out wide into a more free role in the middle.
CFC fans, however, saw Conte fail badly with Hazard in that position last season and seem a little split about whether or not it can work better now under a different manager.
Hazard was notably starved of service when played up front by Conte last season, but Sarri’s side put much more emphasis on possession of the ball, so it could work out rather differently.
Here’s how fans are reacting to today’s team news…
Not a fan of playing Hazard false 9 tbh, he said it himself he doesn’t like playing in that position, however, Sarri false 9 is completely different to Conte’s false 9 so hopefully we are getting an Eden masterclass today
— Mike (@MidfieIdRole) December 16, 2018
Hazard false 9 again… never usually a fan of that, particularly against this level of opposition. https://t.co/zeaE6XxB4R
— CFC FANTV (@cfc_fantv) December 16, 2018
Sarri doing a Conte upfront. Why not?
— Gary (@RampantBlue) December 16, 2018
Sarri trying his best to turn Chelsea into Napoli… runs the risk of not getting the best out of hazard… upset him with January fast approaching ? Potentially an indication of the type of forward Chelsea may go after in January? Mertens ? https://t.co/PPjywpGLtY
— Ben Bell (@benbell98) December 16, 2018
Bold move playing Hazard up top again and dropping Morata again – hopefully pays off, because we need all the points we can get over the busy December and January period.
— Sarri’s balls (@Lordabas) December 16, 2018
Looks like Sarri has finally decided to do that Mertens trick with Eden Hazard. Hazard again starts at the striker position with Giroud on the bench. #BRICHE
— Nouman (@nomifooty) December 16, 2018
Hazard goal today or we riot. Really don’t know how I feel about this false 9 business either, worked against City but Hazard isnt at anywhere near his best there
— ???? (@_jamieCFC) December 16, 2018
Wrong. Conte used Hazard a deep lying target man, with Hazard at false 9 Sarri tries to keep the ball on the floor. Difference. https://t.co/nbqaYDuuKl
— Harvey Specter ? (@DZKurtisss) December 16, 2018