Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
DECIDER

Is it fair to judge Maurizio Sarri/Unai Emery on the outcome of one game?

Chelsea and Arsenal's seasons seemingly hinge on the Europa League final

There will be no shortage of hyperbole on Wednesday night.

BT Sport and other broadcasters around the world will sell the Europa League final as a winner-take-all, season-defining clash.

And many will agree; these days fans are as trophy-obsessed as ever.

Both Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri’s seasons – and by extension, their merits – seemingly hinge on the result in Baku.

But is that fair?

Judgement day awaits?

EPA
6
Judgement day awaits?

Chelsea’s head coach has said he would rather be sacked before the final if his future at the club depended on the result.

“Ten months of work, and then I have to play everything in 90 minutes?” he told the media last week.

“It’s not right. You’re either happy about my work or you’re not happy.”

Sarri has already been denied a trophy by the finest of margins this season.

Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final to Man City on penalties after Kepa Arrizabalaga’s extraordinary disobedience.

The Blues also finished the Premier League season in third, securing Champions League football for next season regardless of the Europa League final outcome.

Yikes

AFP or licensors
6
Yikes

However, Sarri has faced resistance from the fans, with the travelling support chanting ‘f**k Sarri-ball’ in protest against the Italian’s intended playing style.

Victory in Baku would go some way to easing the friction at Stamford Bridge but as the ex-Napoli tactician stated, you are either happy with his work or not.

Sarri is a philosophy-based coach who believes in an overriding style that must be adopted by everyone at the club from top to bottom.

The aim is to build something for the future; a foundation for sustained long-term success.

This is the primary reason Sarri does not want to be judged on 90 minutes in Baku.

What does a Hazard-less future look like?

Reuters
6
What does a Hazard-less future look like?

The final is not the culmination of his grand plan, merely a stepping stone towards the greater aim.

Obviously he wants to end the season with a trophy, but he does not feel it should be a make-or-break fixture.

The same is true of Emery, who, unlike Sarri, has not already guaranteed Champions League football for 2019/20.

A familiar feel

Reuters
6
A familiar feel

The Europa League specialist is hoping to add to his trio of triumphs in the competition and repair the slight damage done to his reputation during the Gunners’ disappointing domestic conclusion.

Whereas Chelsea have enjoyed relatively recent success in the Champions League and the Europa League, Arsenal fans only have the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup and a 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup to show for their years of European endeavour.

It feels as if the jury are deliberating over Emery’s debut season in England and the Europa League final result is the decisive evidence.

Firepower

Getty - Contributor
6
Firepower

The issue is, how much influence does a manager have on any given final?

It’s entirely plausible both Emery and Sarri get their tactics and team selections correct.

A close game could be decided by a moment of individual brilliance (or a critical slip of concentration) and, in this scenario, it would surely be unfair if the losing coach were to be judged harshly.

Football is far less predictable than most think; and way more chaotic.

Of course trophies are important, but we must consider the process.

bUt WhAt HaVe ThEy WoN?

EPA
6
bUt WhAt HaVe ThEy WoN?

A coach who leads his side to a final is, by very definition, one who is at least close to winning to a trophy, one capable.

Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino have been criticised in recent years for their lack of trophies, despite obvious indicators of their positive influence.

It’s abundantly clear that both coaches have made their respective teams good enough to win trophies and, after Saturday, one will have the ultimate prize to show for it.

Fans are entitled to question Emery or Sarri’s methods, but the result in Baku shouldn’t change opinions too drastically.


NEXT: What kind of festival day will you have wearing the new kits this summer?