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Chelsea v Man City - Don't hold your breath Chelsea fans - This could be a battering.

Maurizio Sarri faces Pep Guardiola at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night knowing defeat would take us thirteen points behind the league leade...


Maurizio Sarri faces Pep Guardiola at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night knowing defeat would take us thirteen points behind the league leaders and out of the top four. Being honest if we can take anything from the game it would be an achievement. 

Did not think we could reach the levels of last season.

I thought that last season's performances against Manchester City both home and away were arguably the worst I have seen in a long time - with the display at City the worst EVER. Tomorrow evening, I am preparing myself for even worse. In those games we looked defensively solid; OK we offered literally nothing going forward but we made Pep's side work hard to break us down. I cannot even try to comprehend what is going to happen at the Bridge because if you think Tottenham exposed our defensive frailties, it's nothing compared to what Manchester City could potentially do.

I am angry writing this and I do not for one second feel comfortable in doing so but I have to tell the truth about how I feel ahead of the game. I have to go with my what my head tells me and my gut instincts with both saying the same thing - We will get battered if we play as we have been, in the same formation with N'Golo Kante and Jorginho in the positions they have played all season.


Looking at the game as it kicks off being a neutral and with no allegiance to either team you can imagine that they would see two sides at the opposite ends of the spectrum. One team sitting top of the league, playing to each of their individual strengths, those of the team as a whole and with smiles on their faces. The other a team still trying to adjust a find their way under a new manager with players asked to adapt to roles that are unfamiliar, struggling for confidence in front of goal and in defence. You could argue with what has happened in the last three games that it's almost a David versus Goliath encounter - Yes, I believe it has seriously come to this already.

Now, I am not one for doom and gloom, I am someone that has followed Chelsea for 38 years through the bad times, through the not-so-bad times and through the glory of the last 15 years. I know when we have been shit and when we have been brilliant but that's been the under-current ever since I have supported our club - one moment we can be great but in the next - useless.

This is the Premier League not Serie A.


As I said in my previous Vlog's on my You Tube Channel ( Check it out BTW! ), our unbeaten run surprised us all really and was impressive to say the least. However, when you think about it, we were playing a new style of football that the opposition struggled to come to terms with in those early months. Teams didn't have much time to study "Sarri-ball" as it had been affectionately known and we managed to navigate our way through to Everton at home a couple of weeks ago. That's when Maurizio Sarri and his coaching staff would have sat-up to take notice that there is an obvious anti-dote to it - to take Jorginho out of the game. Tottenham next was a disaster as they continued in the same vein, Fulham we got the result despite a poor performance and against Wolves the other night but for the first 55 minutes, they also took the game to us, forcing us onto the back-foot and we lost the game.

With a new manager at the helm, all you want to see is some sort of progress and ideally, to improve your performance in the League based on the previous season. To a point he has done that with the way we play football and dominate the games however, the same issues that caused us all-sorts of problems last year remain - we do not score enough goals, we cannot just rely on Eden Hazard and our defence is a shambles. In fact, thinking about it, we are at the stage now where Kevin Keegan style football as he demonstrated at Newcastle back in the day would be acceptable at the moment - We simply look to out-score the opposition but even that does not appear to feasible.

Key areas - a tactical switch?


Mark my words, the positions of Marcos Alonso, David Luiz, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho are key tomorrow night and these are the areas that Pep Guardiola will look to expose over and over again throughout the ninety-minutes. If we thought Tottenham did an impressive job, this lot will put them to shame with the amount of space they WILL find in the game on numerous occasions. I would write about a potential formation change which would help us defensively to become solid again offering additional protection to our back-four but there is little point, Maurizio Sarri has already made it clear that he will not change or adjust his style.

My biggest concern/fear ahead of the game.

The biggest concerns I have ahead of kick-off is our intention to press Manchester City high in their own half, orchestrated and encouraged by Jorginho; for City to play a couple of quick passes around us to get in behind our midfield leaving our back-four exposed. As part of our press we will see N'Golo Kante looking to hunt the ball down high leaving Jorginho as the midfielder closest to our defence. When that gap between him and defence appears to be 20-30 yards we will have BIG problems. Jorginho cannot tackle as I have stated numerous times and he has no real pace to get back.


We would also potentially see Marcos Alonso pushed up high in the oppositions half - also out of position for City to play around/through us with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane or Riyad Mahrez attacking us down our left hand side in plenty of space.

David Luiz will then lose his discipline as he did against Tottenham, leave his central position to come out to the left-wing and close the ball down leaving Toni Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta exposed with a possible three-on-two situation if they manage to play around him. It's the nightmare situation to be in and I can only see it happening on a regular basis. If City score early our heads will drop. If they score twice then we will lose our focus, our discipline and our shape and there will be worse to come.

There is still hope for us:


Going forward Chelsea have a glimmer of hope called Eden Hazard. Now I would imagine that Olivier Giroud would be given the nod to start and if we can get decent possession giving these two an opportunity to link-up and play off each other, then I have little doubt that we WILL cause Manchester City problems. Pedro or Hudson-Odoi need to start on the opposite side.

Anything can happen in football as we have all seen so often but, heading into the game tomorrow evening we have to be realistic based on what we have seen from them and from us in the last three games. Unless there is a drastic change in our defensive shape and mentality without the ball, we will get battered by three, four or even five.

"Sarri-ball" simply does not work in the Premier League and how long does it have to take before he will admit that he needs to adapt his philosophy in order to get the best out of our squad?

We are all hoping for something, for anything from the game and if we achieve it, then it would be a surprise to say the least. Don't hold your breath though will you.

CD.

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