The first season in Manchester under Pep Guardiola has been a little inconsistent, although the clear signs of improvements are steadily visible. With the arrival of Guardiola a whole adaptation process started for the team, which was basically and most importantly the presentation and implementation of the Positional Play. Here TP in August has already previewed the issues City has had in the previous season, and the possible changes that Guardiola may bring to Manchester City.
Inconsequential—this it the word that characterises both Manchester sides appropriately when they met last Thursday. The Battle of Manchester saw both committing to their respective roles but lacking some tweaks and turns in order to win the match.
Following a prolonged period of mediocre form, including a defeat to Leicester City on Monday night, Klopp’s Liverpool returned to Anfield to face an Arsenal side who have been on an equally poor run, losing their last three Premier League games.
Mourinho’s United and Puel’s Southampton met at Wembley for the EFL Cup final on Sunday evening. Cup victory would be significant for either side, it would offer Europa League qualification for Southampton and a chance for Mourinho to be the first United manager to win a trophy in their first season.
Klopp’s Liverpool hosted high-flying Tottenham on Saturday evening still looking for their first league win of 2017, with a poor run of form that saw them drop from 2nd to 6th, albeit temporarily. Pochettino’s men however were unbeaten in their last 9 league games, winning 7 and earning the title of Chelsea’s main “challengers”. The clash between both sides’ high intensity approach was an element that added further intrigue to a tie which already had the league’s attention.
Guardiola’s Manchester City hosted in-form Tottenham in a highly anticipated clash on Saturday evening. Fresh from their 4-0 defeat at Everton City were under pressure to win to keep alive their increasingly slim title hopes. This task was made tougher since they welcomed the league’s most in-form side with the North Londoners enjoying a 6 game winning streak.
Guardiola suffers the highest league loss of his career against Everton. The formation of the team and the roles of the players were poorly chosen.
Klopp’s Liverpool side hosted Guardiola’s Manchester City in the final league encounter of 2016 on Saturday evening. The opposing managers’ renewed acquaintance after clashes in Germany was one factor that ensured the game was eagerly anticipated. To add a further edge to the game, Liverpool were one point ahead of City coming into the game and the winner would take the title of Chelsea’s main challengers.
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool played host to Stoke City in the sole Premier League fixture on bank holiday Tuesday. Stoke arrived at Anfield in relatively poor form, without a win in their previous three matches. On the other hand, Liverpool came into the game fresh from a hotly contested victory in the Merseyside derby, giving them local bragging rights as well as back to back wins after a small blip in form at the start of the month.
11 games, 11 wins, 25 goals scored, 2 goals conceded, from 8th place and 8 points off the pace to 6 points clear at the top of the table. This is, of course, Chelsea’s record since Conte changed to a 3-4-3 formation. These results are impressive regardless, however, they become even more impressive when the quality of the opponents are taken into account. On this stellar run the Londoners have beaten, Leicester, Man Utd, Spurs, Everton, Southampton and Man City amongst other tough challenges. Formations are, of course, merely a starting point; this piece seeks to analyse the finer details of Conte’s system and why it has been so successful.