Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has made a couple of bizarre claims about Arsenal’s season, as he tries to distract from his own team’s failings.

Maurizio Sarri

Speaking after Chelsea progressed to the last-16 of the Europa League, Sarri attempted to hit back at his critics by making a statement that amounted to ‘at least we’re doing better than Arsenal’.

“I keep hearing people praise Arsenal’s season, but they are not in the Cup Final, they have fewer points than us in the Premier League and reached the last 16 of the Europa League just like us,” Sarri claimed. “I don’t understand why people act as if our season is so negative and Arsenal’s is impressive. I did take over a team that finished fifth.”

The whole quote is a bit bizarre. For a start, Arsenal have been heavily criticised in the media for months now, and only just avoided a fan rebellion by turning around their round-of-32 tie against BATE Borisov on Thursday. Very few are calling The Gunners’ campaign ‘impressive’.

Additionally, Sarri appears to believe Chelsea currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League. He falsely claims that Arsenal have fewer points than his side, and then highlights that he took over a team that finished fifth, which doesn’t really help his case given Chelsea are now lower than fifth.

The one valid point he makes is that Chelsea are in a cup final and Arsenal aren’t. It’s a good thing Sarri has such a good record managing cup finals, with zero wins in his career, or he’d be at risk of that backfiring on him a bit. It’s also lucky Chelsea only have to beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to lift the trophy, rather than one of the top teams.

Perhaps Sarri should try focusing on his own club and how they’re performing against their own expectations, rather than forcing a narrative that involves Chelsea being judged based on how Arsenal play. Just a thought.