Chelsea will face Manchester City again in three weeks in the Champions League final, possibly in Istanbul, but we don’t know where yet.
In the past three weeks, Thomas Tuchel has orchestrated two wins against Manchester City, one in the FA Cup and one in the Premier League.
Saturday’s spectacular 2-1 win at the Etihad lifted the Blues to third place in the table, capitalizing on Leicester’s potentially calamitous slide to Newcastle on Friday night and prevented City from sealing their third title in four seasons.
City are still expected to conclude very soon, they will face Newcastle next, but the Toons are in fairly good shape so that is not a given, but Tuchel has said ahead of the two meetings with City since his arrival that Guardiola’s side are the reference that his team needed. achieve.
Well, he did that and then some – twice as much – to get the measure of the managerial genius that is Guardiola. The biggest test of all comes in three weeks and you think Tuchel will have a plan.
Winning the Etihad was a strange game in every way. Edouard Mendy, who produced heroes midweek, wasn’t really in demand by one side of town who made nine changes but, on paper, could put any side aside.
Chelsea made five changes, Mason Mount completely missed as well as Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva, while the increasingly influential Jorginho was on the bench with Kai Havertz.
City’s attack was far from the smoothest and most devastating. Meanwhile, Chelsea were also a bit temperamental, slightly brutal and Timo Werner constantly forgot about the offside rule.
There were flashes of lightning on both sides but it was interspersed with fairly average play before a four-minute bonkers at the end of the first half which saw City pass Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero desperately attempting a penalty. Panenka that Mendy only needed one hand to back up.
Chelsea could have lost their way, assistant Zsolt Low did as he protested with referee Anthony Taylor as the teams pushed their way through the tunnel but the players held on.
They were by far the better team in the second half, especially after the introduction of Jorginho, as Hakim Ziyech hit a leveler and the dramatic late winner Marcos Alonso, which was no more than they deserved.
It’s now two out of two wins against Guardiola for Tuchel since joining the club, the Premier League’s biggest scalp. Add that to beating Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone (twice) and Zinedine Zidane, it’s quite a CV the head coach is building up fairly quickly in West London.
The 35-minute rage of Thomas Tuchel
Chelsea and Anthony Taylor are not a match made in heaven, you just need to search social media for evidence of this among Blues fans.
The Manchester-based manager has, shall we say, a bit of history with Chelsea. It was Taylor who sent off Mateo Kovacic in the FA Cup final last season, Victor Moses in the 2017 final and failed to fire Harry Maguire for sending Michy Batshuayi off in 2020 at Stamford Bridge.
The referee was once again the center of attention in a game involving Chelsea in the 2-1 victory at the Etihad. First, he kicked the Blues over for Billy Gilmour’s somewhat awkward foul on Sergio Aguero, who seemed like the right choice.
Only that Chelsea had fallen to ten men at the time as Andreas Christensen had hampered and Kurt Zouma, while ready and waiting, was not allowed to enter the fray. Luckily for Chelsea, Aguero made a full hash of his Panenka penalty and gave Edouard Mendy one of the easiest saves of his 12-yard career.
Taylor also deemed Raheem Sterling’s wild challenge on Timo Werner after ten minutes of play worthy of a yellow card. We have certainly seen red cards given for much less since the introduction of VAR into our lives.
Taylor then fell victim to Man City’s very glaring canoe and bench as Kurt Zouma inadvertently bundled Sterling into the box with the game at 1-1, but Taylor dismissed the penalty claims.
The Wythenshawe referee made an enemy of Blues head coach Tuchel after Sterling’s challenge to Werner, who was described by Tuchel as a “huge foul” by Tuchel as a post-game. “Very lucky” to stay on the pitch.
Tuchel chided Taylor’s decisions consistently throughout the rest of the first half, then exploded after the penalty award was awarded a few minutes before half-time.
” You should be ashamed! What is that? The German shouted at the official as he stormed back onto the bench, only for Aguero to miss him anyway. Assistant Zsolt Low had some very strong words with Taylor at halftime, while Tuchel, wisely, went straight into the tunnel.
Sterling gets mardy with Azpilicueta
Tensions were starting to get a little high towards the end of the first when it all kicked off, but they were certainly simmering before those frantic final four minutes of the first 45.
Chelsea weren’t impressed that Raheem Sterling got into a crisp foul against Werner and hit back with some meaty tackles against City players, Ferran Torres took a heavy one from Antonio Rudiger and the master of the Tactical foul Rodri went about his business as usual.
There was an incident towards the end of the first half which certainly annoyed Blues captain Cesar Azpiliceuta, which made another terrific change for a player who never seems to tire.
Sterling had passed the ball and Azpilicueta did what any good defender does, put his body in front of the attacker and shield him for a goal kick while the attacker slams his heels for the ball. No harm done there.
Azpilicueta reached out to protect the ball and brushed Sterling in the face. On the ground, the England international went.
Nothing was doing with Anthony Taylor and Edouard Mendy recovered the ball for a goal kick. Azpilcueta reached out to help Sterling to his feet. But Sterling didn’t appreciate it and rejected it.
The Chelsea captain stood still, arms outstretched to his side for a good ten seconds, wondering why he was receiving the City captain’s cold shoulder that day. He was only trying to be nice.
Billy Gilmour is Chelsea’s lucky charm
The talented Scottish midfielder has started four Premier League games for Chelsea in his very young career – he has been on the winning side every time.
With Jorginho not named from the start and with Mateo Kovacic still out due to injury, Gilmour has started for the second consecutive Premier League, his first two top-flight starts since Tuchel’s arrival.
Gilmour has shown once again that he can compete on the biggest stage with Europe’s top teams, despite City posting nine changes. He comfortably handled Rodri, Ferran Torres and Sterling when he played more centrally.
Gilmour started and basically had a N’Golo Kante on each side of him, such is the energy of the Frenchman, but the Scotsman was certainly not impressed with the opportunity, the opponents and playing alongside two Kante.
The young Chelsea midfielder had 73 touches of the ball, made 66 of his 71 passes, 90.6% passing accuracy in Man City’s half of the field and created two chances in an excellent overall performance.
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Jorginho’s introduction also freed Gilmour a bit as he played more in City’s half of the field after the break, much more willing to take the ball and run through City’s tiring midfield and backline. knowing he had the protection of the Italian behind him. .
Tuchel decided not to send Gilmour on loan in January for precisely this occasion as Kovacic was injured. If the 19-year-old hadn’t been at the club and with Kovacic’s downfall, Tuchel would have been in a tough spot.
But yet, it gave Gilmour the chance to show what he is and why he is so highly rated within the walls of Cobham and his bubble.