If the Premier League gives away great games even with the teams fighting relegation, Chelsea-Manchester City deserves popcorn and staying screwed to the couch until the last minute. Anything can happen, at any time, without room for boredom. At Stamford Bridge, Mauricio Pochettino’s 11 and Pep Guardiola’s 11 They gave a show that ended in a fair 4-4. Fair? Clear. The match came and went so many times, with periods of shared dominance, that equality is the most accurate result for such a show. Both Enzo Fernández in the Blues, and Julián Álvarez in the Citizens, were from the start.
Chelsea and City equalized in a great game
From the first moment, Chelsea understood that Manchester City cannot be played intensely, going to press high 90′ and trying to manage the ball in his field. From that reasoning, Pochettino had a 4-2-3-1 located in the middle of the field, which had the objective of attracting its rival, cutting the passing circuits through the center and attacking directly with the speed of Enzo, Sterling, Palmer and Nico Jackson.
On the other hand, Pep Guardiola came out with his classic 3-2-4-1 (converted into a 4-1-4-1 without the ball), with Manuel Akanji being the central defender who was placed on the same line as Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Julián Álvarez between the lines, and both Jeremy Doku and Phil Foden on the wings. Progression through ball handling and pressure in the opposite field was not negotiated, of course. However, The Blues knew how to complicate the game plan.
The match started with a controversy. Anthony Taylor took a penalty for a grab by Marc Cucurella on Haaland and, despite the VAR reviewing two possible previous infractions, the Norwegian did not forgive from the 12 steps. Although it seemed that City was beginning to subdue its rival, with fluid circulation and finding the free man very easily to progress, Chelsea reacted quickly: Thiago Silva won a header from a corner and sealed the partial 1-1.
The game was planned like this. On the one hand, a Manchester City that comfortably reached the middle of the field, but could not penetrate the two lines of four of the Blues. In the other side, an orderly Chelsea, crouching, ready to bite in the middle of the field and shoot out. Thus it was 2-1 for Poche’s team, with a good recovery by Enzo in the axis and the finish by Raheem Sterling at the far post. Nevertheless, The City hierarchy once again said present and Akanji, with a header, scored 2-2 in the closing of the PT.
The game gave no respite, not even at the beginning of the complement. In the first, Julián and Foden commanded a counterattack that ended in Haaland’s celebration, his 13th in this Premier. Pochettino made a couple of modifications (among them, he took out Enzo), seeking to give Chelsea more legs in the face of an eventual attack in speed. And he was effective: a release from Gallagher ended with a straight and strong shot, which Ederson rebounded, and which was left for Nico Jackson to make it 3-3.
From the 70th minute, the pace of the game fell, between the logical fatigue of more than one frenetic hour and the constant deluge at Stamford Bridge that made every movement, every pass, every retreat more difficult. Now yes, There was no midfield: the game went from a City installed in the opposite field to a Chelsea that counterattacked. No pressure. No blocking in the middle of the court. It seemed that Pep won, with Rodri’s 4-3 (with the complicity of Thiago Silva), but it was 4-4, with a penalty from Palmer at 95′. 4 to 4! Crazy.
Who benefits from the point? It would seem that City, which was left alone at the top of the Premier, one point above Arsenal and Liverpool. However, they conceded four goals, something that had not happened since 9/27/2020 (2-5 vs. Leicester). In the other side, The tie is a little tasteless for a Chelsea that knew how to be superior by sections: Despite having scored four again (they had beaten Tottenham 4-1, with two more men) they could not take the victory and remain 12 from the lead. For the neutrals, it was a spectacle!
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The post first appeared on www.ole.com.ar