– Sarrismo, Tiki-Taka in Wembley showdown, as Sarri vows to outshine Pep
Solape Lawal-Solarin (with agency report)
‘They are perhaps the best side I’ve faced in my career… I am in love with Napoli.’ Those were the words of Pep Guardiola after watching Manchester City beat Maurizio Sarri’s side in the Champions League last season.
It was glowing praise of the style that took Napoli to the brink of the Serie A title and led Sarri to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea this summer. Sarri has since paid Guardiola a compliment of his own. ‘He for me is a friend, but he is the best coach in the world now, or one of the best,’ the 59-year-old said on Friday.
However, pleasantries and civility would be kept aside at least for 90 minutes as the Italian and the Catalan reignite their rivalry this time in England.
The former Banker, Empoli and Napoli coach is not known to shy away from attractive and attacking football. He’s proven his mettle at the San Paolo with Napoli through out his three seasons spell where he didn’t only wowed the fans with breath taking football but, also gave the Turin Giants Juve a run for their money during those periods. The most recent of these run-ins with the Biaconeri would be last season’s Serie A campaign where the Old Lady was taken down to the wire before claiming a record seventh consecutive Scudetto.
While other rivals like Inter, Roma and Milan pretended, it was only Maurizio Sarri’s Partenopei that stood shoulder and head with the Old Lady in an exhilarating and excruciating league race before stumbling.
Stats don’t lie. Napoli averaged 17.3 shots per goal, possession stood an average 60.3% and averaged pass accuracy of 87.7%. What these stats mean is that the Tuscan native loves to dominate and play high-up on the pitch. His one-two passing games, with intricate movement from the defence down to the flanks epitomises a revolution in football.
And evidence of how finicky and serious he could be in seeking perfection in his game management and tactics was revealed by his former club, Napoli. The San Paolo outfit showed Sarri using a drone in one of his training to have an aerial view of his players’ movement.
It is this obsession for perfection that may well work out for the Blues today against City. Chelsea are seeking to play a vibrant brand of football and in Sarri they got the right man for the job. Playing against an offensive City tutored by Pep Guardiola won’t be a walk in the park for the Stamford Bridge outfit however, fans should expect fireworks today why?: Both sides are coached by managers who are professed faithfuls of ultra-attacking football. It is a shared philosophy that Sarri and Guardiola have hinged their football on.
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For City, it is not new. After a difficult spell in Guardiola’s first season, the Citizens have now adapted well to the Catalan’s football ideals. Chelsea would definitely experience such rocky times with Sarri and his ‘Sarrismo’ but, would definitely pull through.
But till then, all eyes would be focused on the world’s two most attacking-minded coaches in the dugout and not on their star players.
Sarrismo versus Tiki-Taka ticks all boxes. It is a shared philosophy with two different interpreters with their own approaches.
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A football spectacle would be on offer for the fans thronging Wembley. Two footballing clubs, owned by mega rich owners and managed by exciting and adventurous coaches.
Guess all stage is set for Sarrismo, Tiki-Taka showdown.