Pat Nevin has explained that Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel recently forced Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola into a mistake during the match between them from the weekend.
The Blues got the better of Man City last Saturday in the FA Cup semi final, as Hakim Ziyech’s second-half goal set up a final against Leicester City.
It was a match at Wembley Stadium where Chelsea matched an opponent on course for the Premier League title, and it highlighted the serious progress of the current squad of players.
Nevin has pointed out that Guardiola opted to name two defensive midfielders in his XI, something which failed to work and is not something he usually does.
It’s certainly a fair assessment that this new-look Chelsea team under Tuchel is starting to demand real respect from opponents.
“The decision by Pep to play both Fernandinho and Rodri seriously surprised me as they rarely play with two holding, deeper and primarily defensive midfielders,” Nevin told the club’s official website.
“Thomas and specifically this system seemed to have got into his head, and from that, the heads of his players. This is what can happen even to the best, if you set up a team against them that hardly ever gives away goals but is supremely dangerous on the break.
“We have a team and a system that looks just as comfortable with the lion’s share of possession and wearing opponents down, as we do as a team basically set up to break at pace, and we don’t even have to change the personnel to do this. This isn’t an easy trick to pull off, but it is one of the reasons why other coaches are changing their ideas and second guessing themselves as soon as they face Chelsea.”
The Chronicle View
It’s easy to forget given all the controversy off the pitch about the proposed European Super League, but Chelsea have had some stunning results in the past week.
They reached the Champions League semi finals to set up a tie against Real Madrid, and overcame Man City on the weekend. Additionally, they watched their top four rivals in the Premier League drop points.
Tuchel’s aim has to be to keep doing the business on the pitch, starting with the home league match against Brighton on Tuesday night.
It’s obvious that the team have fully bought into his beliefs.
Keep up to date wth all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.