As always, it is great to get the words of Chelsea legend Pat Nevin after a game to offer some balance and a calm head, and once again he is on point to do so.
Nevin believes that questioning Thomas Tuchel’s change of system is premature, and that this game was won by a great risk from Pep Guardiola that paid off on the day.
The former Chelsea winger noticed that Guardiola had his defenders marking Chelsea’s attackers man for man, which gave them the chance to play an extra man in midfield further up the field making it near impossible for Chelsea to play out and leaving no space for our three midfielders.
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He believes this was a risk and that on another day leaving just two defenders man marking Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner could have easily backfired.
In his usual column on the Chelsea website, Nevin said:
“What was very noticeable on Saturday is that City went man to man at the back, leaving Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte to mark Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner. This led to them outnumbering us in a crowded midfield, but very few teams, if any, will be brave enough to go man to man, with no cover, against the quality of Romelu and the pace of Timo. Or indeed anyone we put up there alongside Romelu, be it Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic or whoever.
“Had Pep dropped another man in there to help the two centre-backs, as most managers would have, it might have equalised the battle in midfield and the game would have been very different.
“There was also the fact that, let us be honest with ourselves, a number of our lads didn’t play at their very best. N’Golo Kante rarely dips below a 9.5/10, but he was not himself, and I was already thinking during the first half, ‘if he is 100% fit, then I am an Englishman.’
“After the game, Thomas revealed Kante had been ill for several days in the build-up.”