Thomas Tuchel leads his team into a massive victory against a rotated Guardiola side. Chelsea also made some heavy changes to their line-up which included the young Scotsman, Billy Gilmour and the forgotten man, Marcos Alonso. Man City managed to get the first punch with a blunder from an in-form Andreas Christensen near the interval who unfortunately injured himself in the process. Fortunately the Blues survived a quick-fire double as Aguero had his panenka penalty saved moments later. The gaffer managed to make some key tactical changes in the second half for the Blues which helped find some crucial gaps behind City’s pressing. A wonderful strike from Hakim Ziyech in the 63rd minute made things level and continued the moment for Chelsea. James and Alonso were essential to our comeback and exploited the weaknesses of some City defenders, mainly Mendy on the right. However, the Blues continued to squander chances (as usual) until a late stoppage time goal from Marcos Alonso gave us the win and one step closer to the top four. Further, the victory cements another win against Guardiola for Tuchel and puts us in a good place psychologically ahead of the Champions League final later in the month. With that in mind, some of our fellow writers from the Chelsea Social give their takes regarding the Manchester City v Chelsea match.
Manchester City v Chelsea: Quick Recap
The first 45 minutes were predominantly controlled by Manchester City from a possession perspective although the Blues did have moments where they looked the more likely to open the scoring. Our players found it difficult to get through the Man City pressing at times and as a consequence, gave the home side several chances on the break. While Chelsea did have a few opportunities themselves to generate a goal, it was the Citizens who opened the scoring first.
Unfortunately though, the usually reliable Andreas Christensen (under Tuchel) misread a long ball from Cancelo and overcommitted in a challenge. As a result, the ball was played across the face of the goal for Sterling to run onto and place home beyond a scrambling Mendy. Andreas unfortunately injured himself in the process after the error that led to the goal. Chelsea was forced to play with 10 men for a short time and in that time frame, a Gilmour mistake handed City a dubious penalty and an opportunity to double their lead. A cheeky penalka attempt by Sergio Agüero was easily saved by Édouard Mendy and kept the Blues in the game right before the halftime break.
In the second half, a huge adjustment was made tactically by Tuchel and in essence, handed Chelsea better possession with the ball to really get themselves back into the match. Furthermore, Chelsea was much more potent in attack pressuring Guardiola to sub out several players for more defensive stability, including Mendy who was having a horrid time trying to tame Reece James out on the right. In the 63rd minute, Hakim ZIyech levelled the score with a finely take effort following a nice build up from their own half. While the Blues had some close calls at both ends, including a controversial Sterling challenge (but in hindsight he should’ve been sent off in the first half following a reckless challenge), Chelsea got the last counterpunch as a huge Werner run opened up the opportunity for a cutback to Marcos Alonso who made a precise run on the edge of the box who lifted his shot past the keeper to give us the late winner for a crucial 3 points. In the end, a 2-1 win and a huge step to finishing in the top 4 this season.
Without further ado, let’s see what our fellow writers from The Chelsea Social had to say following the Manchester City v Chelsea clash.
HOW SWEET IT IS! Another massive victory for the Blues and ANOTHER victory against Pep Guardiola! This game did not play out perfectly but Tuchel adjusted very well. He pushed the wingbacks higher up the field and it caused City several problems defensively, particularly in the second half. Andreas made a huge mistake and came out injured for a double whammy. Hopefully the injury isn’t as bad and he can be ready for the UCL final or FA Cup final. Werner and Azpilicueta were amazing and rightfully got MOTM. Gilmour never looked out of place showing us why he is ready to start games. Pulisic didn’t have his finest game but I’m sure he will be crucial for us in the last upcoming matches. Now to beat our Northern down-bad rivals, Arsenal for another 3 points. UP THE CHELS!
Manchester City v Chelsea – what a memorable result for the might Blues (especially as I correctly predicted the score)! It was a cagey match as expected but overall and on balance of things, I believe it was genuinely deserved. Despite some controversies affecting both teams, along with some heavy rotation, this was still a match in which Tuchel’s men were the better team, simple as that.
Individually speaking, I was very impressed with Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, and Billy Gilmour. Further, it was nice to see Hudson-Odoi come on and make a positive impact to the game and give Tuchel something to think about in terms of who features against Arsenal. Collectively though, it was great to see the boys maintain their positive momentum on the soon-to-be champions (I’m glad we spoiled the party) and give themselves a good psychological boost ahead of the Champions League final later in the month. Additionally, we gave ourselves a better chance of getting into the top four. Until then, I’ll continue to celebrate this well-earned victory.
As the old football adage goes: attacks win you games, defenses win you titles. If ever there was a game that flipped this football truism on its head, it was Manchester City vs Chelsea. Billed as the game where the Cityzens would put the cherry on top of their very impressive title-winning cake, there was a dose of irony when a defender – Marcos Alonso – pumped the breaks on that plan in the 92nd minute to give Chelsea a 2-1 win.
Arguably Europe’s foremost defensive outfit since January, Chelsea were remarkably sloppy at the start of this game. Rightfully going 1-0 down early on, the much changed Blues looked rather overawed by the similarly much altered chamipns-elect. A fluffed penalty by departing great Sergio Aguero could have put City 2-0 up out of sight, but this seemed to spark Chelsea into action. Reece James was brilliantly bullish, energetic and gave opposing number Benjamin Mendy a torrid afternoon. In conjunction with Alonso, James pushed high, the midfield duo of Gilmour and Kante began to assert themselves, Timo Werner stretched the City defense with his runs and Hakim Ziyech managed to find pockets of space to exploit. It was this sequence of play that lead to Ziyech’s superb equaliser midway through the second half.
By then, City were on the ragged edge and their party plans looked more like postponement than trophy presentation. An underrated quality of this Chelsea side is its ability to seemingly never give in. Clearly second best in the first half, they came out in the second with a relentless hunger and desire to prove themselves. In the end, Alonso’s scrappy winner, which looked like it should be shared with Callum Hudson-Odoi who also looked to have got a foot to the ball, was emblematic of the fight and doggedness of the Blues team. Many have since styled the win as a keen psychological advantage going into the mammoth Champions League tie in the latter part of May. Tuchel and his players, though, will know that all else fades away once the whistle is blown in that tie and that little else matters but the psychological condition of both teams on the day.
For now, though, that was a tremendous result and a resolute performance by a Chelsea team that is only going from strength to strength. A soldified top four position going into the last three fixtures means that two more good results from three more Premier League fixtures guarantees Champions League football. The focus for this exciting young team can then shift to two of the biggest games in this young team’s careers.
Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
What a great win! A surprise win at that. Chelsea’s second half showdown against Manchester City was reminiscent almost of their own final 45 performance away in Paris. The whole game seemed to have been planned out and minus the three minutes at the end of the first half, it was fairly well executed by Chelsea. When playing against the best of the best it’s often that a slice of luck is needed, Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea took advantage of their lucky break against Manchester City.
The standout performers were Billy Gilmour, making just his second start of the season, Reece James and his second half bounce-back and the substitution of Callum Hudson-Odoi. Gilmour, alongside Kante, was excellent specifically in the second period when Chelsea regained control of the game and the ball. His sharp passing was key to Chelsea overloading a strangely set up City side.
James helped to bully his way past Benjamin Mendy who was isolated and struggled to keep up with the triangular passes and in behind through balls. Key to the victory was the progression of the two wing backs as the game went on, penning Manchester City further and further back.
This was a great result for Chelsea, not always clean and certainly not faultless, but they battled and fought their way to a position in which the Blues deserved to in the game with ten minutes left. Taking advantage of that was where they have often fallen down, struggling with their final third against Southampton, Brighton, Leeds United and Manchester United. Whether this was clinical, plucky or just the way the ball fell, it would have been gleefully accepted.
Written by Rey, Dan, Tom and RJ
Edited by Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)
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