Manchester City crushed its host Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with an easy 3-1 victory on Sunday evening, in the Premier League’s 17th round.
City managed the match as it pleased, and showed distinctive offensive capabilities, despite the recent absences that struck the team, as a result of 5 players being infected with Coronavirus.
With this victory, Manchester City, under the leadership of Spanish coach Josep Guardiola, has sent a warning message to the rest of the competitors, that it is coming strongly towards the top of the standings, after a slow start this season, which drew question marks about its ability to compete.
On the other hand, Chelsea seemed receptive to defeat in the second half of the match, after a terrible performance in the first half, and his coach Frank Lampard bears full responsibility for what happened, especially since his team played at home and appeared more complete in its ranks than City.
This modest offer creates doubts about Lampard’s training abilities, as today, he appeared to be driving a Formula 1 car, just a day after receiving his driver’s license.
Chelsea played in his usual 4-3-3, where the back line was from the four-way Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell, and the Frenchman N’golo Kante played the focal point with the help of Matteo Kovacic, and Mason Mount moved behind the trio, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulicic and Timo Werner.
Among the mistakes made by Lampard was the lack of an outspoken striker in the literal sense in the squad, with Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham on the bench, which led to chaos at the front line, and the intention seemed unclear about placing Werner in this position, after many weeks he spent as left winger.
At a time when there was no connection between the three lines, there was no clear exchange of positions between the front line players, then large areas appeared as an amateur team and worse, which is what Manchester City used optimally in the first half specifically.
The most disturbing thing for the Chelsea fans in this meeting, was the very slow pace in the transfer of the ball in order to build the attacks, as if the clock actually stops when possessing the ball, and the defenders advanced a lot in free kicks, which left the pivot Kante in obligation to cover alone, and this costs Chelsea a 3rd goal.
As for City, who also played 4-3-3, his coach Guardiola embarked on a great adventure, by involving Kevin De Bruyne as an outspoken striker, while keeping Argentine Sergio Aguero as a substitute, and the absence of Brazilian Gabriel Jesus due to his infection with the Coronavirus.
This bold adjustement to the squad put the Chelsea’s defense in a confusion when applying individual control, and the City players smoothly switched places, especially the trio Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden, which worsen the task for the Chelsea defenders.
We must pay tribute to the German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who moved around the stadium, carrying out his defensive duties to the fullest, before moving forward and contributing to the attacks. His amazing performance got quickly rewarded with a beautiful goal.