‘All wrong’, ‘cautious’ – National media slam Thomas Tuchel in Chelsea defeat to Manchester City – Football.London

Chelsea finally fell to defeat in the Premier League as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City put in an impressive performance at Stamford Bridge.

It was the first sign of fallibility has shown against his title rivals as Gabriel Jesus’ goal separated the teams, while the gap between the Blues’ midfield and attack was the source of much criticism.

The reigning Premier League champions moved above Chelsea into second, but only on goal difference after their defeat to Tottenham earlier in the season.

Nevertheless, for many it was a statement win for Guardiola as Manchester United and Liverpool also dropped points.

We take a look at the reaction from the national media below:

Mail on Sunday

Oliver Holt wrote : “This was a dominating, smothering, brave, skilful performance by City, who had been confronted at the start of the game by a dark blue wall of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the Chelsea midfield that seemed designed to stop even a team as creative as City from penetrating it. Tuchel’s ploy simply didn’t work. City were too good. Way too good.

“If Chelsea’s selection had been designed to thwart City going forward, it was City who refused to give their opponents a chance to play. Romelu Lukaku was rarely in the game, starved of service. Chelsea sorely lacked creativity of their own. Their defeat was a reality check in their hopes of stealing City’s crown away from them this season.”

The Guardian

“Stamford Bridge had been a boisterous place at kick-off, as Guardiola began the afternoon with a 5D-chess move, putting out what was on paper a pretty orthodox starting XI, featuring a genuine holding midfielder in Rodri and normal-ish centre forward in Jesus,” wrote Barney Ronay.

“Except, of course, there was a twist – cut to Pep in crumpled rain mac, turning in the doorway, and just, one last thing – with Phil Foden acting as the central striker and Jesus on the right.

“Thomas Tuchel responded with a selection containing five defenders, two defensive midfielders, and only two footballers who might reasonably be expected to score a goal, one of whom, with all due respect, was Timo Werner. And this was how the game played out in the opening minutes, as City enjoyed something close to total control.

“Tuchel could be seen leaping up on his touchline throughout the half, urging his midfield to play higher up the pitch. But Chelsea remained a constricted presence, the footballing equivalent of a man with something stuck in his throat still gamely trying to deliver his keynote speech.”

The Sunday Times

“So, maybe there are limits to Thomas Tuchel’s genius and Pep Guardiola’s is not as flimsy as his critics think,” wrote Jonathan Norcroft in The Sunday Times.

“This was a statement win by Manchester City’s manager over the disciple who had hitherto been the supercoach’s kryptonite. And a statement win by the footballers who play for him.

“Losing their grip? Not Guardiola, not City. From their passing, to their pressing, to their positioning to their patterns, this was a victory that told you the Premier League champions remain an extraordinary creation – a winning machine blending artistry with appetite.”

The Independent

“Amid a growing and occasionally misplaced debate over whether Chelsea are defensive, this was an undeniably cautious approach that sought to deny City space but only ended up sapping any initiative from Chelsea,” wrote chief football writer Miguel Delaney.

“Both managers were getting anxious on the line for different reasons. It was absorbing but it still wasn’t why most came to watch. It wasn’t the full potential of a game with players like this.

“We finally got a vision of that after the goal. A football match, rather than a chess match, broke out.

“Chelsea had no option but to go for it, so they started to create opportunities. Timo Werner, on the shoulder of City’s defence all day, was finally put through. A big chance was created for Romelu Lukaku, but he had strayed offside.

Everything had been loosened up, though. That, ironically, did at least partly indicate why Tuchel had set up the way he did.”

Evening Standard

James Robson said: “So Thomas Tuchel is not perfect after all.

“And having spent the past six months or so inside Pep Guardiola’s head, he can consider himself evicted for now.

“Instead, the German will be left to pore over his own role in this first defeat of the season for Chelsea that saw them miss the chance to open up a six-point gap on Premier League champions Manchester City.

“He got his team selection all wrong, waited too long to make the necessary adjustments and in the end he could consider himself fortunate to lose to just the solitary goal from Gabriel Jesus.”

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