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Michael Tucker

Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0

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1 hour ago, Ham said:

Even so Michael 🤔

Maurizio Sarri: Has Kepa Arrizabalaga's cup final defiance fatally undermined Chelsea boss?

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By Phil McNulty

Chief football writer. 

Maurizio Sarri left Wembley not only nursing the pain of a Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City but with every shred of his authority and a large slice of his credibility as Chelsea manager stripped away by a disgraceful act of insubordination from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. This dull final was destined to linger only briefly in the memory until an unsavoury, unprecedented series of events that must surely leave Sarri, already fighting to survive at Stamford Bridge, fatally undermined.It is often said that nothing surprises in football - but the sight of a £71m goalkeeper bluntly refusing to obey his manager's orders to be substituted in a major Wembley final writes a fresh page in the book. Sarri, on an even keel after his earlier ranting incandescence, later blamed the incident on a "misunderstanding" - a defence few were buying based on the evidence of their own eyes. Kepa had been treated twice for cramp during extra time before Sarri decided he had seen enough and tried to send on former Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who famously saved three shootout penalties in the 2016 final as City defeated Liverpool. 

Instead of coming off, Kepa simply stood his ground, wagging a disapproving finger in open defiance of Sarri who, as the situation descended into complete farce, allowed this flagrant display of player power to win the day. Sarri looked on the point of spontaneous combustion, stalking towards the tunnel doors to the dressing rooms before returning, and then being restrained from challenging his goalkeeper by Antonio Rudiger as the team and coaching staff convened prior to penalties.

It was an ugly rebellion that exposed all the fractures in Sarri's Chelsea regime - and was a new one even on those of us who have travelled the world and seen most things the game has to offer, good and bad.Chelsea's loss is almost a side issue to the questions raised by Kepa's behaviour and the damage this has done to Sarri inside his own dressing room and even higher up inside Stamford Bridge.Let's get one thing straight. The first fault lies with the player - if you are told you are being substituted you go off. You may not like it but you go off.Referee Jonathan Moss was forced into a new role as technical area mediator between manager and player as confusion reign.

 
 

That Sarri put it down to a nothing-to-see-here "misunderstanding" was all very commendable, but the horse had clearly bolted. 

This was a very painful, public indignity and will surely have been noted in red ink in Chelsea's corridors of power.

The problem for Sarri, and the matter that will trouble owner Roman Abramovich and Chelsea's decision-makers, is that this unseemly episode made the Italian look weak, indecisive and, for all the conciliatory noises made afterwards, lacking in control at a time when he needs to reassert himself.

And for all the talk of breakdowns in communication, attempts at damage control only confirm the utter shambles that was unfolding on and off the pitch.

Where were the Chelsea players telling Kepa to respect his manager's wishes as the public row went on? David Luiz claimed that was his precise message to his team-mate, but there was hardly a rush to enforce Sarri's very specific demand.

Why did Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta not suggest to his fellow Spaniard that Sarri's word is final, whether he liked it or not?

And what about Caballero? How will he feel about the sorry mess in which he found himself an unwitting participant, left staring at his feet in embarrassment?

Put it all together and you are confronted with a staggering show of disrespect.

How can he possibly regain his authority and respect in the eyes of his squad, supporters and perhaps, most significantly, upstairs at Chelsea when this unfolded at a crucial stage of a major final?

They were the sort of scenes, misunderstanding or not, that would embarrass a Sunday League team let alone one with designs on operating at the game's elite level.

Of course 24-year-old Kepa must take the biggest share of the blame, but football and financial realities dictate that the main suffering will be heaped upon the beleaguered manager.

If football operated by normal rules Kepa would be in the dock and his Chelsea career would be on the line. 

Instead the spotlight is on Sarri.

Sarri's fury will be made worse by the fact he and Chelsea got so much right. He stifled City with his smothering tactics, saw his side grow in this final and his substitutions showed real intent with Callum Hudson-Odoi replacing Pedro to build on periods of supremacy.

There was even a departure from tradition when Ross Barkley was replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, not Mateo Kovacic. 

This had actually been a good day for Sarri until chaos took over but once defeat had been confirmed, Chelsea's miserable week had just got worse.

Chelsea had tamely exited the FA Cup at home to Manchester United on Monday then the club was banned by Fifa from signing players for the next two transfer windows for breaching rules in relation to youth players.

Capping this shocking spell with a Wembley defeat is bad enough - topping it off with open mutiny only compounds the gathering sense of finality for the beleaguered Sarri.

Chelsea produced a performance that might have sustained their manager in his post. What unfolded at the end only leaves Sarri in greater peril.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ham said:

A mild strop?  He very nearly left the ground after literally throwing his toys around 😂

 Hazard gets treatment for 30 secs and is actually injured, and JM does his nut (rightly IMO).
Kepa gets treatment for two lots of 3 mins each, AND THERE IS NO INJURY.  But Sarri wants to kill the game off.

I'd call Sarri's reaction mild.

1 hour ago, Ham said:

The longer he goes without a cigarette, the worst he gets.

:)  Can't argue with that.  

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Ham   
6 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

 Hazard gets treatment for 30 secs and is actually injured, and JM does his nut (rightly IMO).
 

Yes of course.  Jose's behaviour towards a female colleague was entirely appropriate and restrained but let's not go there again. 

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10 minutes ago, Ham said:

Yes of course.  Jose's behaviour towards a female colleague was entirely appropriate and restrained but let's not go there again. 

Why does everyone focus on the fact that it was a female that cocked up?  (or rather failed to prevent her junior male colleague from going on the pitch).
Aren't we supposed to be beyond that nowadays.  

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Ham   
8 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

Why does everyone focus on the fact that it was a female that cocked up?  (or rather failed to prevent her junior male colleague from going on the pitch).
Aren't we supposed to be beyond that nowadays.  

I'll remember that the next time one of my female colleagues messes up and I'm on a disciplinary for calling her a daughter of a whore. 

Edited by Ham

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16 minutes ago, Ham said:

I'll remember that the next time one of my female colleagues messes up and I'm on a disciplinary for calling her a daughter of a whore. 

Another of those press stories you have chosen to believe in.  Why is it you can be so discerning in the lies of the media when don't fit your pre-judgements, and so gullible when they do.
Like the finger in the eye that you saw.

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Ham   
9 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

Another of those press stories you have chosen to believe in.  Why is it you can be so discerning in the lies of the media when don't fit your pre-judgements, and so gullible when they do.
Like the finger in the eye that you saw.

This conversation? Completed it many times.

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  • Haha 1

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1 minute ago, Ham said:

This conversation? Completed it many times.

I think you have had that conversation thousands of times with hundreds of people about dozens of topics.  And never even realised the result.

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1 hour ago, Droy was my hero said:

Why is it you can be so discerning in the lies of the media when don't fit your pre-judgements, and so gullible when they do.

Pot. Kettle. Black. The irony here is simply delicious.........:).

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1 minute ago, Michael Tucker said:

Pot. Kettle. Black. The irony here is simply delicious.........:).

finger and son of a bitch - I think you'll agree that the facts squarely back me up on 2 out of 2.  After all you consider yourself the wise man on here.

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