Maurizio Sarri has explained why he risked incurring the wrath of Ruben Loftus-Cheek by omitting him from Chelsea’s squad against Arsenal.
Loftus-Cheek did not even make the bench as Chelsea edged to a 3-2 victory over their London rivals on Saturday. Read 16 Conclusions. Cheers.
The 22-year-old played 22 minutes in the club’s season-opening victory over Huddersfield, having sat out the Community Shield after his exploits for England at this summer’s World Cup.
It was thought that his performances in Russia would have provided a platform to finally break into Chelsea’s first team, having impressed on loan at Crystal Palace last season.
But his omission from the squad to face Arsenal represents a significant setback, and the player is reported to have requested ‘showdown talks’ over his future as a result.
Sarri says he simply wanted to maintain a balance on his bench, opting for more wingers than midfielders.
“It depends on the position on the pitch,” Sarri explained. “I prefer to have on the bench two wingers, and only one midfielder. So it depends on this. Not any other situation.
“I needed on the bench one goalkeeper (Caballero), one full-back (Zappacosta), one centre-back (Christensen), maybe two midfielders and only one winger, but yesterday I preferred vice versa, two wingers (Hazard, Moses) and one midfielder (Kovacic).”
Olivier Giroud, for those wondering.