Maurizio Sarri’s opening game as Chelsea manager could include Loftus-Cheek, Rudiger & Batshuayi

Maurizio Sarri appears to be getting closer and closer to becoming the next Chelsea manager with reports that the Italian is set to replace Antonio Conte in the coming days.

That means a change in style, a change of formation and a change in approach going into the 2018/19 Premier League campaign should the deal finally go through.

While Conte’s methods were a little more defensive in the way that he would set up the side, Sarri has been praised for his attacking concepts during his time at Napoli, before he was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti as head coach last month.

So how would Chelsea look under Sarri as the former Napoli boss likes to play a 4-3-3 formation?

Thibaut Courtois – GK

Chelsea still have to confirm that they are going to keep hold of Thibaut Courtois this summer with the Belgian’s contract running out in 2019.

Real Madrid have always been the team that seem to be keen on taking him away from Stamford Bridge, however they might be looking to Roma’s Alisson to fill that gap.

A new deal and a new manager might well be the tonic for Courtois to take his next steps at the club.

Emerson – LB

While Marcos Alonso had a decent season during the previous campaign, Emerson might actually be more of a fit for the Blues under Sarri.

In his few appearances the Brazilian-born Italian showed that he has great pace and willingness to get forward and will be pushing hard in pre-season to start.

This could be the year for him to start regularly for Cheslea.

Andreas Christensen – CB

Christensen was one of the bright sparks for Chelsea last season and he would only have continued to learn during the ups and downs that the campaign brought.

The 22-year-old is also starring for Denmark in the World Cup and he is turning into a top centre-back, who might benefit from having four in the defence.

Sarri should trust Christensen next year and bring him through as being the starting player once again.

Antonio Rudiger – CB

Out of all of last year’s signings, Antonio Rudiger was probably the best and the most consistent. Especially towards the end of the season he really shone and was superb in the FA Cup final.

Rudiger is strong, quick and is an excellent passer from the back, something that David Luiz was always good at for the Blues.

Centre-back is his most natural position and playing next to Christensen, they could be a combination for many years.

Cesar Azpilicueta – RB

Out of Davide Zappacosta, Victor Moses and Azpilicueta, the Spaniard is by far the best option and with four at the back he has to play right-back, putting in those excellent crosses.

Has a great engine to get up and down the flank and defensively sound to help out his centre-back team-mates.

He has to start and could well be captain next year, being the most underrated player in the Premier League.

N’Golo Kante – DCM

This is a bit of a no-brainer and at the base of the three in midfield he would protect his defence and look to break up play like he does so well.

His attacking element is not the strongest, but that would let the other midfielders from getting forward instead so that he can just do what he does best.

Kante needs to be kept by Chelsea and he could well have another strong season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – RCM

Having Loftus-Cheek in the team would be like having a new signing for Chelsea and on the right of the three in midfield he could fit in perfectly.

He showed at Crystal Palace he has the ability for the Premier League and his cameo for England against Tunisia was more than encouraging for the future.

Chelsea fans will be livid if Loftus-Cheek is sent out on loan again, and you have to be sure Sarri won’t make that mistake.

Tiemoue Bakayoko – LCM

It’s fair to say Tiemoue Bakayoko’s first season at Chelsea was not a great one and Blues supporters will be expecting a lot more from the former Monaco man this time around.

For much of the season the Frenchman looked restricted in his play and looked a little lost of his positioning. However, the 4-3-3 might suit him better to have the confidence to get forward.

With Kante holding, the 23-year-old can adventure forward more and get the pressing game going with the rest of the midfield.

Dries Mertens – RW

There is no doubt that Sarri is a big fan of Mertens after their time together at Napoli, and after the stunning goal against Panama it is not hard to see why.

He might be 31, but Sarri is expected to want the Belgian to join him at Stamford Bridge and play a position on the right that is likely to be left open by Willian.

Mertens could be something of a marquee signing for the Blues and he would no exactly what Sarri expects from his players.

Eden Hazard – LW

Keeping Hazard is an absolute must for Chelsea and if Sarri does come in then it could just be enough to convince him to stay with an attacking brand of football.

Hazard didn’t really enjoy a lot of his time under Conte with the more defensive tactics that were brought to the side, and with a contract running out in 2020 they need to do something about it.

The Belgian is going to be one of the key men for Chelsea (again) next season and could flourish under Sarri if he can start the season fit and firing.

Michy Batshuayi – CF

Completing a Belgium front three is Michy Batshuayi, which might seem like something of an interesting choice with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud in the wings.

However, Batshuayi is a proper finisher, which he has shown during his short stint at Borussia Dortmund and also when he has actually been given the chance at Chelsea.

The system might well suit a player like Batshuayi and it could be his time to really shine at the club.

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