A Big Win for Man City at Chelsea

by - October 01, 2017

The defending league champions hosted the league favourites in a highly anticipated match this Saturday tea time. It was an encounter that most onlookers hoped would be the ultimate indicator as to the more likely title winners come May. However what transpired can be broken down to just one simple cause - recovery time.

It is a simple excuse used by many a manager in the past but this match was obvious evidence in support of their claims. The energy levels of both sides could not have been more opposite. After all, the modern game is hugely based on high stamina abilities. The best players today are generally no more technically better than players in the past, but they are fitter and significantly more healthy.

A home game on a Tuesday evening still allows 3 whole days of preparation, both tactically and physically, prior to a Saturday match, whereas an away game just one day later only gives the protagonists one and a half days at best to prepare. Never mind the extra exertions Chelsea gave when battling for the full 95 minutes in order to gain such a late win in the cauldron of Madrid's newest stadium, followed by a late night flight home.

This difference between the sides was highlighted by Manchester City's high press. They constantly attempted to regain quick possession and were able to attack with high numbers. Chelsea mostly sat back and allowed their rivals to freely move the ball along their back line whilst Morata and Hazard were regularly isolated as they tried to advance.

Early on, City were taking long shots which rarely ever trouble Chelsea's keeper and back 3. Sterling ran and tried but regularly lacked the correct end product and Jesus is not the striker that Aguero is. The end result was that despite their far superior possession and passing statistics, Courtois had not been troubled as much as he should have been. However, goal threats from the home side were fewer and after the injured Morata was replaced, they found it even more difficult to press forward and the City defence coped very well.

All in all this was a dominant performance by the visitors and their victory was finally accomplished by the outstanding De Bruyne. The lovely 1-2 and perfect finish were great examples of his vision and talents.

Soon afterwards Conte made a double change which saw his side revert back to a 3-4-3 and reintroduced a target man in the form of Batshauyi. This improved Chelsea's shape and they started to move forward with better purpose but City still looked like the team more likely to score.

The result will give an enormous amount of belief and confidence to City - remember they lost both home and away to The Blues last season. They are back at the top of the league having played a tougher set of opening fixtures to their Manchester rivals.

The main disappointment for Chelsea would have been that they could do very little whilst being outplayed. However, if they had been able to repeat their efforts and abilities from Wednesday's match this could have ended in a very different result. Therefore, except for the 3 lost points, this result is far less significant to them. A two week break from club football now follows. Thoughts will turn to international matches and qualifying for next year's World Cup. This will help clear the mind and allow Conte's men to focus on the upcoming matches as opposed to this defeat.

The main question for now will be about Morata's injury and expected return to the team. If he has recovered in time for the Crystal Palace match then we should expect Chelsea to be back to their impervious best.

Written by Jon Ellis, Chelsea FC home and away season ticket holder. Follow me on twitter: @ClitheroeBlue

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