Five Takeaways from Man City – Chelsea

Branislav Ivanovic had a tough time again, this time against Raheem Sterling/photo by SkySports
Five Takeaways from Man City – Chelsea
Sojo Latinovic

The Special One huh? The only thing that was special about Chelsea’s performance yesterday was how they managed to lose by only 3 goals. City dominated the game in every phase and could have been all but done in the first 15 minutes, if not for outstanding saves from Chelsea’s No.2 keeper Asmir Begovic.

Last year’s form is long gone and the worst thing that came out of the game for the Blues is the fact that teams aren’t afraid of them this year. In the first game Swansea came out and believed they could and should have won, and yesterday within 20 seconds City were the team in complete control.

Here are things that jumped out after yesterday’s game:

Ivanovic Struggles Again

The Serbian was in the spotlight yesterday already before the game considering what happened against Swansea a week ago. Jefferson Montero went right at Ivanovic over and over exposing the lack of pace by the Serb. Raheem Sterling definitely watched that display as he went after Ivanovic in the same manner Montero did a week ago. This is a major concern for Mourinho as teams have seen what works against them and will hope to repeat what Swansea and City have done to the champions.

While Ivanovic is not known for his blistering pace he is know as one strong defender. That was not evident on the corner that led to 2:0 as Vincent Kompany outmuscled the Chelsea defender rather easy and cast further doubt over Ivanovic’s future. Mourinho will have to come up with something, either offering more help to Ivanovic from the midfield or play Zouma or Azpilicueta on the right side and new signing Baba on the left against pacey wingers.

Chelsea Toothless Up Top

It took 70 minutes for Chelsea to create a clear cut scoring chance yesterday, and in the game against Swansea (albeit with 10 man for a while) most of the actions was going towards the Chelsea goal as well. Diego Costa appeared more interested starting a fight with Fernandinho for the bloody gash he received from the Brazilian rather than scoring a goal. He couldn’t bully Kompany and Mangala as the two defenders read the game beautifully time and time again. Ramires and Willian were missing for large parts of the game leaving Hazard to try things on his own to no avail. Fabregas has had two forgettable games and has been a defensive liability leaving Matic to do too much defending on his own. Oscar’s creativity was certainly missed yesterday and Mourinho will hope to have him back for the game against West Brom.

The Beginning Of The End For Terry?

The Chelsea captain was substituted at half time because the team “needed more speed in the back” and as result of that decision the rumblings about his future have began to surface. This was the first time that Terry has been substituted under Mourinho in 177 games he started and one has to wonder how this will affect the team going forward. Yes, City attackers kept going at Chelsea defenders at will but it is harsh to say that Terry was the only one that was at fault here. Ivanovic and Cahill were far from their usual best, but Chelsea conceded 2 goals in the second half with Terry on the bench and only one with him on the field. Zouma is an amazing talent and has the potential to be one of the best in the world but this change doesn’t mean that Mourinho will switch to him permanently and bench Terry from this point on.

City Attack – Pace And Technical Ability

It’s only a two week sample but City have been phenomenal up top. The addition of Sterling has allowed David Silva to move to his preferred central attacking midfielder role where he has thrived in the past and it’s no wonder the team has responded. Sterling and Jesus Navas provide blistering pace on either wing and in front of them is Sergio Aguero, simply put the best striker by some distance in the EPL. With Yaya Toure and Fernandinho focusing on cleaning up defensive errors in midfield it has really opened up the front four to concentrate solely on the attack. Aguero himself could have had a hat trick in the first 15 minutes if not for Begovic’s fabolous saves, all of this against arguably the best defense in the league. One has to wonder how many City can score this year assuming injuries don’t strike at some point.

Kompany And Mangala Partnership To Continue?

A sub par season last year by the captain and a disappointing campaign by the new French import were partially the reasons why City didn’t challenge Chelsea last year for the title. Fast forward to this season and through two games the partneship of Kompany and Mangala has been excellent. They were never really threatened at West Brom last Monday but faced a stern test yesterday, or so we thought at least. They stopped everything that Chelsea threw at them and didn’t even face a real threat until Eden Hazard’s chance in the 70th minute. The central defense has been superb and even Bacary Sagna has been outstanding on one side while Kolarov is still providing the most lethal crosses anywhere from the left back position. There are rumors out there that Nicolas Otamendi is on the way to Etihad from Valencia and if that is the case one has to wonder how that will impact the Kompany – Mangala partnership seeing as how they have started out so well.

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Sojo Latinovic

Srdan “Sojo” Latinovic is a sports editor/writer with previous writing experience for Chicago.com, Bleacher Report and Suite 101. He has covered soccer, basketball and hockey among other sports and also has keen knowledge in tennis and football. Sojo has played competitive sports since he was 5 years old and still does to this day, although the level of competition has dropped since his semi-professional days of soccer in Germany in the late ‘90s. Sojo is a 2009 graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Sports Journalism and is a recipient of the 2009 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award.

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