Sarri-ball on last legs after Chelsea’s nadir in Cardiff prompts rebellion | Dominic Fifield

Chants of ‘We want Sarri out’ punctuated the game in Cardiff, where the manager started with Hazard, Kanté and Hudson-Odoi on the bench and ended with an ill-gotten 2-1 win

Back when the mutiny in the far corner of this arena was at its most poisonous, the chants of “Fuck Sarri-ball” and “We want Sarri out” uniting the away support, it would have felt perverse to suggest that Maurizio Sarri would end up getting away with it; that he would not be punished for such a risky and provocative team selection or undermined by a performance so appallingly limp from a side seemingly unconvinced by his methods; or that he would mutter through his later media duties with regular references to being “lucky”.

Yet that is the bizarre contradiction that is Chelsea under the Italian. A team whose recent displays have been horribly disjointed, and whose supporters are in open revolt against the management, loiter only one point off the top three with seven games to play. They still have two potential routes open to them to reach next season’s Champions League. Most clubs would crave a campaign that might yield such reward and yet afternoons like this expose it all as a deception. The head coach insisted he would depart “really very happy” but in truth his tenure suffered serious damage in south Wales.

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