Pep Guardiola is a tactical wizard.
The Manchester City coach is up there with the very best when it comes to preparing his teams with the sort of strategies, game plans and formations that secure the biggest trophies in the sport.
However, it goes without saying that the Champions League title has evaded him to an inordinate degree over the last decade, hitherto failing to secure the trophy with Bayern Munich and City.
2021 Champions League final
But that could all change this weekend as Guardiola leads the Citizens into just the third all-English Champions League final in history with Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea lining up as their opponents.
Chelsea haven’t had the best run-in to the Porto climax, it must be said, with a shaky climax to the Premier League season and defeat in the FA Cup final proving that all isn’t well in paradise.
And we say ‘paradise’ because you’d be forgiven for thinking that Tuchel had the Midas touch coming into the final few weeks of the season, seemingly winning every game with absolute ease.
Man City vs Chelsea UCL Final Preview (Football Terrace)
Tuchel getting the measure of Guardiola
Guardiola knows that fact all-too well because in the short time that Tuchel has inhabited the Stamford Bridge dugout, the German has secured no less than two victories over the City coach.
A 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium and victory in an FA Cup final means that Tuchel has got the better of Guardiola in 2021, but will that continue into the clash at the Estádio do Dragão?
Well, there’s good reason to think that Guardiola will be racking his brains more than ever to get the better of Tuchel and ensure that City’s infamously long wait for ‘Big Ears’ comes to a close.
Guardiola breaks down Tuchel tactics
And it appears that Guardiola is more literate in Tuchel’s tactics than ever based on a fascinating 36-second clip where the City boss rapidly breaks down why Chelsea play such good football.
With Rio Ferdinand watching on in what we can only assumed is amazement – besides, the clip has since gone viral on Twitter – it’s like viewing a tactical masterclass on 2.0x play-through speed.
As such, don’t miss out and be sure to watch the brilliant footage down below:
Wait, what did he say?
For those who didn’t quite catch every word that came out of Guardiola’s mouth – which would be understandable, to be fair – the Metro have transcribed the Spaniard’s fantastic breakdown.
“Why Chelsea play so good… because they have three central defenders close, the two holding midfielders who move in relation are close, the pockets are close, the striker and the two [others in attack] are so, so close,” Guardiola said to BT Sport.
“The distances are so close, and at the same time they are so wide with the wing backs, they are so good with the ball in behind.
“That’s why you cannot be close because they push you [out wide] and they have a lot of good players in the middle. That’s why it’s difficult to face teams who want the ball and want to play with the ball. We’ve tried to do it since day one.”
So, it’s fair to say that Guardiola has the measure of Tuchel, but as the last two City vs Chelsea clashes go to show, it’s one thing to know the tactics and another thing to unravel them…