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Is the only reason Sarri's not been sacked by Chelsea because exiled Abramovich is too busy elsewhere?

Not with the king-sized headache that would have accompanied him all the way back from Manchester on Sunday evening.

Nor when he considers how his team capitulated in pathetic, embarrassing fashion.

But lucky, indeed, that he is Chelsea manager now, in 2019, and not at any previous stage since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Claudio Ranieri was sacked for only finishing runners up to Arsenal’s Invincibles.

Avram Grant was a John Terry penalty shoot-out slip from winning the Champions League, and took the title race to the final day. Axed.


Luiz Felipe Scolari received his marching orders after a goalless home draw with Hull, because the powers that be feared Chelsea might slip out of the top four.

Carlo Ancelotti was booted within minutes of the final kick of the season when he only finished second, 12 months after lifting the Double.

Andre Villas-Boas was pinged in March, with his side in fifth place.

Roberto Di Matteo gave Abramovich the Holy Grail but lasted less than sixth months afterwards, sent packing with the Blues third.

And while Jose Mourinho’s second departure was overdue, Antonio Conte went last summer despite adding the FA Cup to the previous season’s Premier League crown.

But 26 games into this league season, Chelsea are sixth.

In the space of 11 days, Sarri has broken a club Premier League record twice – just not in the right way.

Conceding six at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon meant the ink was barely dry on writing the the 4-0 mauling at Bournemouth into the Chelsea annals before it was excised from the tome.

And yet, unlike so many of his predecessors, Sarri had not, as of Monday morning, received the order to prepare for a visit from chairman Bruce Buck to his office in Cobham and the ceremonial handover of the P45 certificate.

Why? That is the big question, one that, surely, is not entirely unrelated to the fact that Abramovich has not been seen in the UK since the start of April.

For the majority of his Blues reign, Abramovich was hands-on.

He wanted to be part of the club. Revelled in the victories. Demanded answers for defeats. Wielded the knife himself when he thought it was needed.

Not now. Not when he feels himself unwanted and unloved by the authorities who refused to renew his visa in the spring.

Patience is a virtue, one that Abramovich frequently was accused of not possessing.

Yet that relentless expectation game, that managerial merry-go-round, has brought a remarkable trophy haul.

Five Premier League crowns, the FA Cup on five occasions, three League Cups, plus both major European trophies. And, unlike Mourinho, you can’t actually count the Community Shield.

Sarri, though, is still surviving, for now at least. Despite his side being a rabble, a shambles, a humiliating mess, at City.

When Mourinho was sacked in December, Chelsea were 11 points and 21 goals better off than United. Nine games later, they trail the Old Trafford side on both measures.

Sixth, in a “six team league”. Still with a chance of coming third, or fourth. But not unless something changes quickly. The direction of travel is very much downhill.

Sarri has to do something about it, starting now.

Yet previous Chelsea managers would not have had the opportunity. They would have been long gone. He really is a lucky man…

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