The Chalkboard: Chelsea must return to their counter-attacking blueprint to beat Manchester City again

Chelsea travel to the Eithad Stadium on Sunday to take on reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

The home side will be favourites to take all three points from this clash, but the Blues did beat Pep Guardiola’s outfit earlier in the season so will know that they have what it takes to triumph if they stick to the gameplan.

On the chalkboard

That gameplan ought to be to reproduce the reactive, counter-attacking system that has served Maurizio Sarri’s side so well at times this season.

In the aforementioned win against City, and also in a hard-fought draw against Liverpool, the west London club showed a capacity for sitting deep and remaining very solid at the back whilst maintaining a threat on the break.

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Reverting to this approach once again offers the Blues their best chance of success on Sunday.

Surrendering possession

Sarri’s preferred style of play is possession-based. With Jorginho at the base of his midfield, dictating the play, he likes to see his team on the ball. However, City’s superior technical talent makes this a very dangerous approach to take, so the Italian coach must sacrifice his preferred model of play.

Instead, Chelsea would be better served by surrendering having the lion’s share of the possession and relying upon the likes of N’Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to keep the home side out.

The likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi give Chelsea plenty of pace up top, meaning they pose a threat on the counter-attack. If they can soak up City’s attacks, they can then strike back at the opportune moment. 

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