According to a recent report by Sky Sports, former Arsenal attacker and TV pundit Paul Merson has sounded a warning to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City about the threat posed by a high-flying Chelsea side. With the Citizens all set to host the Blues when we get back to the routine at the end of the international break, Merson has gone on to say that the likes of Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount pose enough danger to effectively end City’s title defence.
What Are Manchester City’s Weakness Right Now?
Although Pep Guardiola’s teams aren’t necessarily renowned for their defensive stability, this City side have been a dominant force in England for quite a while now. Through the years, the presence of a natural leader like Vincent Kompany had consistently papered over the cracks for the Citizens. But now, with their former captain gone, Man City have struggled to find a voice at the back.
The injury to Aymeric Laporte certainly hasn’t helped their cause but even then, players like John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, don’t fill you with confidence either. With Fernandinho now operating out of a centre-half’s role, there could be enough space between the lines for the likes of Pulisic and Mount to work their magic.
Tammy Abraham’s forward running has been excellent this season, and with Jorginho now looking like a new player as well, this could be the perfect time for the Blues to visit the Etihad and wreak havoc.
What Do Chelsea Currently Have Going For Them?
The Blues have been in ravishing form over the last months, and their football earned Frank Lampard his first-ever Premier League manager of the month award. His management of all the young superstars currently on display at Chelsea has been sublime. He’s brought players in at the perfect times and the mood around Stamford Bridge is certainly looking up.
The Blues away form will also come as a massive boost to Lampard, as his youthful side have won their last seven away games on the trot since last losing at Manchester United on the opening day of the season.
The link-up play between Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham has been a feature of the Blues’ play over the last few weeks. In their most recent win against Crystal Palace, the duo combined to score the insurance goal and had a lot of thrilling exchanges between each other as well. In addition to this, the energy that Willian provides on the opposite flanks makes for a complete looking attack.
What Do Chelsea Need To Do To Get The Win Against City?
For starters, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho will both have to be at their absolute best, to take the game away from City right at the start. The pair of them are excellent at keeping the ball under pressure with mazy dribbles and short passes. To get the Blues moving forward, the Chelsea midfield will be responsible for breaking through the first press. Once they’re through, the likes of Pulisic and Willian can be allowed to bombard down the flanks and cause the fragile City defensive problems.
Tammy Abraham is another player who will have to be patient against Guardiola’s men. Although he might not see too much of the ball because of the constant pressure from swarms of City players, his ability to make those sharp runs in behind could come into play. The goal that he scored against Watford is an excellent example of what he needs to try and do against this wounded City back-line.
Although attacking is the priority in Frank Lampard’s setup, the Blues’ back-line will also have to be very secure. Kurt Zouma has been a monster at the back so far this season. Although Sergio Aguero is a different kind of animal to the ones he’s dealt with so far, the Frenchman certainly has the pace and muscle power to keep the Argentine veteran in check. Tomori’s energy and dynamism will also be crucial in their own box as City pressure is inevitable.
The Blues are currently enjoying an excellent run of form, and apart from their unfortunate defeat against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, there hasn’t been a single slip-up in recent weeks. City, on the other hand, are coming into this tie on the back of a gutting defeat against title-challengers Liverpool.
With Pep left fuming at the end of that tie, he will be looking to put things right when the Blues visit the Etihad. The way things stand though, with the Blues in 3rd place and City in 4th, if Frank Lampard gets his tactics right, there’s no reason why his Chelsea side couldn’t pull off an absolute shocker over the champions.
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