By 90Min
February 20, 2019

For the second season in succession, Chelsea find themselves amid a managerial crisis as initial murmurs of discontent surrounding Maurizio Sarri's tactics spread to outrage amongst the club's supporters during Monday's 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge to Manchester United.

The Italian boss's start to life in London was sprinkled with positivity as his Blues side went on an 18 game unbeaten run before eventually being beaten by Tottenham Hotspur at the end of November.

Since their loss to Spurs however, Chelsea have fallen from fourth in the Premier League table to sixth behind Manchester United and Arsenal, and now face the daunting prospect of yet another season without Champions League football.

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Initial comparisons to Pep Guardiola's struggles during his first season in English football with Manchester City were made when the Blues lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City in December; yet lackadaisical performances in recent weeks have led to serious concerns surrounding Sarri's future.

A shock 4-0 defeat on their travels to AFC Bournemouth was followed by another away day hammering at the Etihad Stadium as Chelsea suffered their heaviest ever Premier League defeat at the hands of Guardiola's City.

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With 'Sarri-ball' proving an ineffective tactic outside of Serie A, the outright refusal to alter his approach has seen star midfielder N'Golo Kante consistently having to play out of position, while a lack of game-time for the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi has led to the former Napoli manager to become deeply unpopular.

As the short chapter of Sarri's time at Chelsea is seemingly coming to an end, we have narrowed it down to seven possible candidates who could takeover at Stamford Bridge.

Check them out below.


Zinedine Zidane

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Arguably the most sought after manager in world football, Zidane's three consecutive Champions League triumphs with Real Madrid have been made to look even more remarkable given Los Blancos' recent form.

The Frenchman's aspirations to coach again after a year away from football following his departure from the Bernabeu in 2018 could lead him to accept a job at Chelsea as success in the Premier League would add to a growing legacy.


Laurent Blanc

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Without a managerial job since leaving Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, Blanc may want to mark his return with a move to the Premier League having exclusively worked in French football in the past.

During a three year stint with Les Parisiens he led the club to 11 major honours, while his previous success in charge of Bordeaux in which he won the league title in 2009 suggests that he could have the pedigree needed to succeed at Chelsea if given the job.


Jose Mourinho

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Yes, seriously. 

Mourinho's relationship with Chelsea has been littered with a rollercoaster of emotions as the Portuguese coach initially led the club to successive league titles in 2005 and 2006, and was then suddenly resigned a year later, before rejoining in 2013 following spells in Italy and Spain.

The former Porto coach went on to win the Premier League with the Blues again in 2015 yet a bad start to their title defence ended in his sacking in December of that year. Following an incredibly underwhelming spell in charge of the Red Devils which came to an unceremonious end last year, it would be a remarkable story if Mourinho moves to Chelsea for the third time in his managerial career.


Gianfranco Zola

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A legend amongst supporters for his contribution as player for Chelsea, Zola is currently Sarri's assistant and could be in line for at least an interim role if they sack his compatriot before the end of the season.

The 52-year-old has had previous experience working in England at Watford and West Ham United, and with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment transforming United's fortunes in recent months, the Blues could look to Zola to replicate the Norwegian's impact at Stamford Bridge.


Frank Lampard

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In what would be an incredibly popular appointment with the club's supporters, Lampard could be brought in after impressing during his first role as a manager at Derby County.

With the Rams currently seventh in the Championship and fighting for a play-off position, any move for the former England international may have to wait until the end of the season though. Lampard illustrated his free-flowing style of play earlier on in the season at Stamford Bridge when Derby were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Chelsea in the League Cup.


Lucien Favre

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The man behind Borussia Dortmund's success this season, Favre has led his side to the top of the Bundesliga where they currently sit three points ahead of Bayern Munich.

The Swiss has an excellent track record of getting the best out of his players following successful periods in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice and German teams Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach.


Nuno Espirito Santo

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After leading Wolves to the Championship title last season, Espirito Santo has gone from strength to strength during his first ever campaign as a Premier League manager, with his Wanderers side currently sitting seventh, just one place behind Chelsea.

The Portuguese tactician has helped nurture the talents of Matt Doherty and Conor Coady during his time in charge of the West Midlands side, and by signing promising young players such as Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota, he has demonstrated the kind of recruitment that may be vital in attracting world class talent to the Blues if he is to take over at Stamford Bridge

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