How Pep Guardiola broke the mould to mastermind an uncommon victory for Man Metropolis over Chelsea

If something, the worldwide break got here on the improper time for Manchester Metropolis.

After a disappointing 3-1 loss to their closest rivals Liverpool within the final matchday, there was a way that Metropolis coach Pep Guardiola needed to place issues proper as rapidly as attainable. As an alternative he needed to wait and endure the worldwide break within the information that anybody of his key gamers may decide up an damage taking part in for his or her nation.

A second of magic from Mahrez gained it for Man Metropolis
Getty Photographs – Getty

Fortunately the taking part in squad emerged unscathed and had been able to welcome one other rival within the type of Chelsea. The performances of the London aspect this season have delighted their supporters, and rightfully so.

Within the midst of a switch ban and with Frank Lampard newly put in as head coach, expectations could not have been as excessive as regular going into the season. To this point, although, they’ve carried out at a excessive stage and are firmly difficult for a Champions League spot, while integrating younger academy gamers into the primary crew.

This match, then, represented the primary probability for Guardiola to set his crew again on the proper path. There was nothing to say that this may be straightforward although.

On this tactical evaluation we’ll look at the important thing factors within the match that led to a 2-1 victory for Manchester Metropolis.

Crew Information

Guardiola is well-known to favour heavy rotation in his squad however this week we noticed a comparatively easy crew choice in his favoured 4-3-Three form.

Ederson began in objective behind a again 4 of Joao Cancelo at right-back and Benjamin Mendy at left-back. John Stones partnered Fernandinho within the centre of the defence. The midfield lined up within the regular 1-2 form with Rodri because the ‘6’ and David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne forward of him. Riyad Mahrez was favoured on the proper of the assault with Raheem Sterling on the left and Sergio Aguero centrally.

Chelsea seemed to match the 4-3-Three of Metropolis with Kepa in objective behind a again 4 of Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back and Emerson Palmieri at left-back with Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori centrally. Jorginho performed because the ‘6’ behind N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. The nice type of Christian Pulisic noticed him begin on the left of the assault with Willian on the proper and Tammy Abraham performed centrally.

Statistical Evaluation

The very first thing that stood out when inspecting the statistical knowledge from this match is that it was something however a normal efficiency from Manchester Metropolis.

It’s not usually that we see Manchester Metropolis with much less possession than their opponents in a match. Chelsea edged the possession battle 52% to 48% in every half. That is partly all the way down to ‘sport state’ with Metropolis getting the lead within the second half and permitting their opponents to own the ball extra.

The urgent depth from Metropolis was additionally nowhere close to the identical stage as we usually see.

Passes per defensive motion (PPDA) measures the quantity of passes a crew permits their opposition to have in possession earlier than partaking them in a defensive motion. The decrease the determine the extra intense the press. Manchester Metropolis are usually elite on this metric however on this match they totalled 26.5 passes per defensive motion allowed. Chelsea had been extra intense with 11.8.

When it comes to anticipated targets the 2 sides had been comparatively stage with Manchester Metropolis popping out on high with 1.25 in comparison with 0.99 for Chelsea.

As you may see the 2 groups had been steady earlier than N’Golo Kante missed a giant probability within the 53rd minute. Metropolis then match this with a good larger miss from Fernandinho within the 65th minute.

Manchester Metropolis spacing

This match noticed a return for Metropolis to the David Silva/Kevin De Bruyne mixture as the 2 most superior central midfielders.

This season has seen David Silva transfer out and in of the beginning line-up and the Spaniard has already confirmed that this will probably be his final season on the membership.

It is a return to the midfield setup that has been so profitable for Metropolis during the last two seasons. The important thing to their success has been the flexibility of those two gamers to behave as conventional ‘8’s out of possession earlier than transferring ahead to behave as ‘10’s in possession.

These actions enable Metropolis to occupy house throughout the width of the pitch with the large forwards staying large and permitting the 2 central midfielders to push excessive within the half areas. These actions had been evident on this match as Metropolis didn’t play for possession and as an alternative seemed to stretch the play vertically as usually as attainable. This noticed De Bruyne and Silva transferring ahead as a way to power the Chelsea midfield deep.

You’ll be able to see this from the typical positions that the Metropolis gamers took up. Each Silva (21) and De Bruyne (17) had been excessive with the construction for Metropolis turning into certainly one of defenders and attackers. The fullbacks would transfer excessive relying on the state of affairs however the attacking menace from Metropolis very a lot got here from the entrance ‘5’.

We see this spacing within the instance above, with the entrance three for Metropolis unfold out throughout the width of the pitch. This forces the Chelsea fullbacks to play wider than they’d have needed to with areas created between the fullbacks and the central defenders.

With Rodri in possession, the 2 ‘8’s are then in a position to press larger to take advantage of these areas. The ball ultimately comes out to Mahrez on the proper however with De Bruyne transferring excessive it forces the Chelsea left-back, Emerson, to decide on to both press the ball or keep in place.

We see an analogous state of affairs right here with the ball possessed by Rodri. This time because the assault is in transition Mahrez steps inside into the half-space and De Bruyne makes an angled run outdoors the Algerian. As soon as once more this type of motion in possession creates overloads throughout the entire pitch.

Chelsea motion to open house

Chelsea had been fluid in possession and displayed good motion with gamers transferring out and in of pockets of house as a way to discover areas within the Metropolis defensive construction.

As we have now already mentioned above, Metropolis had been extra passive than regular out of possession and they didn’t press aggressively. As an alternative they seemed to sit down barely deeper and allowed Zouma and Tomori to have possession of the ball.

They then tried to chop the provision to the Italian worldwide Jorginho as they knew that Chelsea always seemed to construct their assault by way of their ‘6’. This meant that Jorginho needed to be artistic to find pockets of house behind the primary line of stress from Metropolis.

These runs had been additionally evident from Kante particularly with the French worldwide usually being the participant who would make the run past the strikers to create an attacking possibility. On the opposite aspect of the 2 superior midfielders, Kovacic was way more passive in his positioning usually taking on the identical line as Jorginho.

As soon as once more the typical positions chart exhibits this clearly with Kante (7) pushing up far larger on his aspect of the sector and connecting together with his attacking gamers.

Having performed a one-two with Jorginho we see Kovacic in possession of the ball above. There’s comparatively little stress from in entrance of the ball and the Croatian worldwide has house to play. We see that Willian has moved centrally from the proper hand aspect and Kante makes a run behind him that breaks the line of defense of Metropolis. These had been the sort of actions that we noticed over and over from the French worldwide.

Right here we see Chelsea in possession with all the Metropolis aspect behind the ball. They don’t seem to be urgent however need to stop straightforward passes being performed behind into the house occupied centrally by Jorginho.

With Kovacic dropping deep to supply an choice to progress the ball we see Jorginho transfer throughout into the large house that has been emptied by the motion from Kovacic. This enables the ball to be performed previous the primary line of the Metropolis defensive construction.

Metropolis mix to play by way of

Whereas Chelsea relied on vertical actions from the likes of Kante as a way to power a break by way of, Metropolis had been extra nuanced of their method as they used small actions to create passing angles. These actions characterize the premise of the ball development mannequin favoured by Guardiola and his teaching employees. The ball service will usually have no less than two if not three clear passing choices with gamers rotating out and in of pockets of house. 

These actions had been clearly evident on this match with the Chelsea defensive gamers struggling to match the runs or cowl the passing lanes because the ball was progressed past them.

We see an instance of those rotations above. John Stones had taken the ball out of the defence and as he reaches the midway line he’s trying to join with a passing possibility forward. De Bruyne drops deeper from the ‘8’ place and Mahrez strikes in direction of the half-space to fill his house.

These actions drag the Chelsea defenders centrally and Joao Cancelo is ready to advance excessive to obtain the cross from Stones in a large place.

A barely totally different motion on this instance as Benjamin Mendy strikes into the Chelsea half in possession. Sergio Aguero has rotated to the left-hand aspect and he makes a motion inside previous the Chelsea proper again.

Because the defender turns to comply with Aguero we see David Silva making a deep run from the half house into the zone vacated by Aguero. This enables Mendy to play the cross forwards to search out the Spaniard.


In the long run Metropolis deserved their 2-1 victory, however not by lots. Chelsea impressed in patches of the match and of their younger central defender Tomori they’ve one of the promising central defenders in world soccer.

Kante is continuous his fluid transition from dominant defensive midfielder to field to field midfielder and Metropolis struggled to match his power and motion.

In the long run, although, Metropolis had been extra scientific with their possibilities and so they managed the transitions of the sport very properly.

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