Guardiola says he could not have imagined City title runaway

Guardiola says he could not have imagined City title runaway

Javier Howell
March 6, 2018

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte branded Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville "stupid" for criticising his tactics in the Blues' 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

It is looking increasingly likely that Chelsea and Arsenal will be the teams from the Premier League's "Big Six" to miss out on Champions League qualification this season.

City registered 902 passes at the Etihad Stadium, which is the highest tally recorded in a Premier League game since Opta stats began in 2003-04. "If you give City space behind us the game can finish not 1-0".

City had 78 percent possession in the first half, a scarcely believable stat against a top-six rival - especially one of the quality of Chelsea, which didn't even have a shot in that period.

Chelsea could barely get out of its own half and a piercing Sane run into the area was eventually halted, though the ball ran on to Bernardo Silva, who curled a sweet left-footed effort onto the roof of the net in the 20th minute.

The German midfielder played 167 successful passes, 10 more than Yaya.

The only teams to have any kind of success against City this season have been those who have been prepared to fight fire with fire. You want to make you leave the ball to the centre backs and the full backs - and they did all that.

All the Chelsea players just seemed to accept that was the way they were playing that day but, when you are on the pitch, you have to change the game. They enjoyed 71 per cent possess as last season's champions were seen off at a canter.

"Today that was such a hard watch, that was anti-football. I really felt that so strongly". I was looking forward to watching this game today.

"We are not going to play for the records".

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In driving rain, and with Chelsea mysteriously refusing to take off the handbrake, they were able to close out a victory that will, in its own way, have brought as much pleasure to Guardiola as numerous more spectacular wins this season.

"Chelsea should have given them the three points before the game started".

"If we did not concede a goal after 30 seconds maybe it could have been more simple".

"Do you think this?"

City are now just four wins away from winning the Premier League title for the first time since 2014.

City's hunger and desire are that strong. What it instead ended up being was a tiresome, dour and boring encounter where one team was not ready to play football.

Conte attempted to explain his tactics away as a effect of the absence of the unwell N'Golo Kante, but the Chelsea manager conceded that his team's performance was not up to requirements. Well, I am sure they will play the same way against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on 14 March, but they can not be like headless chickens there. Who could believe it? "When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition". "This is a effect of the way we play".

This time, it was 1-0 against Chelsea following a pair of 3-0 defeats of Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola's Man City have not faced many teams willing to go toe to toe with them this season. Alonso had a try on the City post but he shot wide as City concluded a very good week.

Chelsea sit fifth with nine games to go and are now five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham. Meanwhile, Chelsea cut adrift of the top 4 after the loss. Ten months later, City is 25 points clear of the soon-to-be-deposed champions. Guardiola's side is showing no mercy on its way to a second trophy of the season, after the League Cup last weekend.