Manchester City produced the sort of performance that you would expect from a team vying for the Premier League title in their 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side were simply superb as they returned to the top of the table, Kevin de Bruyne scoring a spectacular goal to continue City’s unbeaten start to the season.
We were never going to witness the sort of scoreline City managed in their devastating wins over Liverpool, Watford and Crystal Palace but this one was their most impressive.
To dominate at the home of the Premier League champions without Sergio Aguero is some feat.
It’s no wonder that Guardiola was delighted after the win.
"We are so happy,” he told BBC Sport. “The most important thing is to win the game but the way we played, especially in the second half, was pleasing.
"We had control and in the second half we adjusted our possession and the way we attacked. They could not play and had to do long balls."
City look like champions
Some were ready to label Guardiola a pretender following his debut season in England. City finished 15 points behind Chelsea and it was clear that instant success wouldn’t follow the 46-year-old just as it had at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
But now, with a squad packed full of stars in every position, this City side looks ready not just to compete for the English title but to make an impact in Europe, too.
Tactical analysis shows how Guardiola outsmarted Conte
One YouTuber, ‘TheNextManager’, has produced a brilliant video that shows just how Guardiola was always one step ahead of Antonio Conte.
Guardiola had his full-backs, Kyle Walker on the right and Fabian Delph on the left, play as inverted full-backs, coming inside instead of staying close to the touchlines.
This suffocated N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas, who were already occupied by David Silva and Cesc Fabregas.
The Chelsea midfielders were eventually forced into wide areas, leaving gaps in the middle of the pitch.
Fernandinho was afforded plenty of space
TheNextManager also points out how much room City’s defensive midfielder Fernandinho had to bring the ball out to initiate attacks.
Chelsea counteracted this in the second half by having Fabregas press the Brazilian, but it only left space in behind.
City’s wingers also played their part. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane both pushed up high, restricting the passing lanes to Chelsea’s wingbacks.
Check out the detailed analysis below.
And that is why many consider Guardiola to be the finest coach on the planet.
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