18 Feb 19
The Scottish Sun
AS a cup final song, it was pretty original.
Six days before their team face Manchester City at Wembley to contest the Carabao Cup, the Matthew Harding Stand serenaded Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri with a chorus of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’.
Chelsea fans turned on Sarri and it looks like his time is running out
And that was after the Italian was battered with ‘You don’t know what you’re doing!’ and, most damningly of all, ‘F*** Sarri-ball’.
They’re not the kind of tunes the Chelsea PR team will be ringing up Suggs out of Madness and asking him to record as an official anthem to play up Wembley Way.
The writing had been on the wall early on for Sarri. By the time Ander Herrera nodded Manchester United in front, Chelsea’s players already looked like the victims of a mugging.
David Luiz literally had half of his shirt ripped from his back by Chris Smalling.
Clueless Sarri was met with a barrage of abuse from Blues fans
Pedro’s bones had just been rattled by a sledgehammer tackle from Ashley Young.
And Marcos Alonso was recovering from having been barged into an advertising hoarding by a ferocious new version of Smalling.
United have ambushed Chelsea twice now and gone a long way to ruining their season.
And by the 71st minute, it was Sarri’s ears being battered as Stamford Bridge turned on Chelsea’s manager in loud and clear fashion.
Chelsea players cannot hide their dejection at another defeat
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When he chose to replace Mateo Kovacic with Ross Barkley, rather than bring on 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, they hammered him.
When United’s fans started with ‘Sacked in the morning’, Chelsea’s supporters joined in and sang it even louder.
This was absolutely brutal for a footballing thinker who has seen his philosophy ripped to shreds in English football.
As preparation for a cup final, this was a display of mutiny and disunity.
Since Jose Mourinho was sacked and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, two months ago, United have enjoyed a 12-point swing on Chelsea, nabbing their place in the top four.
And now at the start of a critical nine-day spell for Sarri, United have ditched holders Chelsea from the FA Cup.
The manner in which they were bullied out of this fifth-round tie was fairly typical of Sarri’s Chelsea, who were far too easily worked out and out-worked.
Sarri was unbeaten in his first three months as Chelsea manager. In the three months since, Chelsea have lost EIGHT times, including poundings at Bournemouth and Manchester City which were record defeats in the Roman Abramovich era.
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If Sarri can’t reverse this wretched form with a victory on Sunday or at Tottenham in the Premier League next Wednesday then he will be smoking his final cigarette before owner Abramovich sends in the firing squad.
Chelsea do not look invested in their manager’s philosophy — in direct contrast to the way United have clearly responded to the upbeat demeanour of Solskjaer.
For all the talk of United rediscovering the buccaneering football of Sir Alex Ferguson, they have recaptured another quality of those classic teams — they were thoroughly mean.
This was a performance which would have stirred the blood inside Roy Keane or Nemanja Vidic.
Pogba scored Utd’s second
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Even when Chelsea upped their game after the break Nemanja Matic was a none-shall-pass midfield bouncer on a pitch he so often dominated wearing Chelsea blue, while Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba were making last-ditch tackles which Mourinho would never have reckoned them capable of.
The result was a seventh away win out of seven under Solskjaer — a care-giver as much as a caretaker. A man who is showing that even World Cup-winning icons like Pogba respond well to a little love.
Pogba’s cross allowed Herrera to escape Alonso and steer home a header, then the Frenchman powered in one of his own from Marcus Rashford’s excellent first-time centre.
Higuain has failed to impress since joining Chelsea and may not do enough to save Sarris job
Gonzalo Higuain was hesitant when presented with a clear sight at goal, while Kovacic was ineffective and N’Golo Kante lost in his advanced role.
Chelsea faithful eventually started singing for Hudson-Odoi, the winger wanted by Bayern Munich but seemingly not wanted all that much by Sarri.
Home supporters booed as Barkley came on, then handed a standing ovation to former favourite Juan Mata, in one of the strangest passages you’re ever likely to see.
On cup final day, poor old Sarri won’t know whether to stick a flower in his lapel or pin a target over his ticker.