Chelsea key tactics as Man City will face new problems with Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain link-up

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
The duo can be lethal against United

Manchester City are on a run of five wins in their last six Premier League outings and welcome Chelsea to the Etihad on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side has been on something of a resurgence lately in their bid to retain their crown while Chelsea’s form has been patchy at best but do find themselves coming off a 5-0 victory over Huddersfield.

Here, we preview Maurizio Sarri’s side of the tactical battle ahead of this encounter.

Check out City’s key tactics here.

HAZARD TUCKS IN

Apart from his involvement in N’Golo Kante’s opener then, Hazard was largely a peripheral figure when Chelsea beat City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier this season. The 28-year-old will return to his preferred left wing role this time. Sarri is encouraged by the growing relationship between him and Higuain.

That is aided by Hazard’s freedom to tuck inside and operate behind the striker during certain passages of play. In possession, the marauding Marcos Alonso then has the freedom of the left wing to attack. With either Pedro or Willian pressing forward on the opposite flank, Cesar Azpilicueta can hang back as the back-line shuffles across as a three to ensure they’re not overly exposed in the event of a turnover.

HIGUAIN FACTOR

The last time these sides met, Hazard was deployed up front but with the arrival of Higuain in January, City will be faced with a completely different problem. Unlike the Belgian, keeping him facing away from goal without options in close proximity doesn’t negate his effectiveness. The Argentine is well-versed in the art of holding up play or even using his strength and body position to roll a defender who gets too tight.

What Higuain also offers over the likes of Olivier Giroud and the now departed Alvaro Morata is a vertical option. The Blues keep the ball well but struggle to penetrate the back-line at times. Higuain’s acceleration but, more importantly, his intelligent runs and understanding of space lends Sarriball more substance.

Most popular

Man City key tactics as energetic Bernardo Silva could render Chelsea ineffective

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Manchester City are on a run of five wins in their last six Premier League outings and welcome Chelsea to the Etihad on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side has been on something of a resurgence lately in their bid to retain their crown while Chelsea’s form has been patchy at best but do find themselves coming off a 5-0 victory over Huddersfield.

Here, we preview Guardiola’s side of the tactical battle with Maurizio Sarri ahead of this encounter.

Check out Chelsea’s key tactics here.

FERNANDINHO IN MIDFIELD

Much was made of Fernandinho’s role in City’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal when he operated as a centre-back but regularly stepped into midfield. However, he’s unlikely to reprise that role against Chelsea. Arsenal’s slow build-up play meant exposure in the transition was not a massive risk and so City could benefit from the extra man in midfield.

Chelsea boast more pace on the counter and have the central midfielders to exploit gaps in the back-line. Aymeric Laporte playing as a makeshift left-back means the back four may be a little lopsided with Kyle Walker being the more attacking full-back. Fernandinho will therefore focus on shuttling wide to cover for the right-back or attempt to pick up Eden Hazard when he drifts into central areas.

BIG GAME BERNARDO

City’s win over Liverpool in January was one of great intensity and Bernardo Silva played a huge role in it. The diminutive Portuguese has proved he’s capable of some big performances, covering a massive 13.7 km on that occasion as well as providing an assist and recovering possession 10 times. As such, Guardiola will be tempted to play him in midfield, possibly ahead of Kevin De Bruyne who is only starting to get back to his best.

Jorginho has been key to Chelsea’s play and naturally a target for oppositions. Suffocate the Italian playmaker and you can negate the team’s threat. Bernardo may just be the perfect man for the job, not only to keep Jorginho quiet, but also hurt the visitors in the transition.

Most popular

Unai Emery 'very proud' as Arsenal keep top four finish in their sights

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Arsenal boss Unai Emery insisted a top-four finish was a realistic target after his side’s 2-1 win at bottom club Huddersfield.

Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette struck in the first half, and despite Sead Kolasinac’s stoppage-time own goal, Arsenal secured their first away win since November.

“It was very important to win, to be closer to the top four and our target is this,” Emery said.

“After 26 games there is a one-point difference between us and Manchester United.

“If we ask is it difficult for us, I think it’s difficult, but we can. After 26 games we are on our way and our motivation is very great and we’ve brought our target closer.

“I am very happy. We were working well. Every player was working and helping each other and today I’m very proud with our work.”

Arsenal are two places below United and level on points with fifth-placed Chelsea, who play at Manchester City on Sunday.

But a clean sheet on the road eluded Arsenal and they remain the only Premier League side not to have kept one this season.

Kolasinac’s late own goal was accredited to the Bosnian defender after Adama Diakhaby’s shot appeared to hit him before crossing the goalline.

“A clean sheet is important, but our main worry is to win,” Emery said. “The main thing is to score one more goal than them and after that it is to keep a clean sheet.

“Every player worked very well and the last action, unfortunately for us, they scored and also, maybe they deserved it.”

Huddersfield slipped to their 12th defeat in 13 league matches and remain 13 points adrift of safety.

But the Terriers turned in another spirited display. The killer final ball in and around the penalty area continued to elude them, but they created chances and with a little bit more luck could have rescued a point.

“I totally agree,” said Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert. “We gave everything today. The way we played makes me so proud.

“Each player in the squad showed everyone that we wanted this win. At half-time we were 2-0 down and said we wanted to win the second half for the people who came here.

“To be honest I will fight until the end with my lads to stay in the Premier League and this makes me proud of the supporters.”

Town’s goal – even if off Kolasinac – was their first in six matches, highlighting their major problem this season.

“The most important thing for me is to continue what we are doing,” Siewert added. “We played against a very good team today and created so many chances.

“For me as a manager, the fight comes first and then the luck comes back. We are improving in our work and we will get our results.”

Most popular