Chelsea at Manchester City: Three lessons learnt in uninspiring loss

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 15: Thomas Tuchel, manager of Chelsea, reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Chelsea travelled to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday knowing full well that anything less than a win would spell the end of its title hopes this season. Surprisingly flat on the day, the team that Thomas Tuchel put out failed to compete with Manchester City across all areas of the pitch. A 70′ goal from Kevin De Bruyne would ultimately prove to be the difference as Manchester City put its opponents to the sword for a second time this season—both by fine margins.

Here are three lessons we learnt from the Blues’ trip up to Manchester:

1. Chelsea did not come to play football and paid the price

The reality of the situation is Thomas Tuchel’s set-up against Manchester City was simply too negative. Considering that Tuchel himself identified problems with his previous line-up against the Citizens, it was incredibly disappointing to witness the match unfold in a near-identical way once again. This was perhaps due to the incredible pressure that the home side was constantly able to put on Chelsea. The away side at times seemed afraid of progressing the ball forward into dangerous areas. In particular, Marcos Alonso and Malang Sarr seemed content with keeping possession within their own defensive third, constantly passing the ball back when better options were available in the attack.

Moreover, when the Blues finally did work the ball out wide after a series of intricate play, the wide players strangely chose not to cross when Romelu Lukaku was available and waiting for the ball in the middle. Instead, the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic and Sarr dallied on the ball, wasting the rare chances they had to provide Lukaku with the kind of service that he thrives on. It was an incredibly frustrating day of football for Chelsea and considering the stakes that were at play, one certainly wonders if Tuchel had in fact done all he could to give his team the best chance of taking anything from this game.

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