The countdown begins! In just a matter of days, the two Champions League finalists from last season will go head to head in a match that may set the tone for the rest of the season. Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon and I cannot wait for the tacticians to go at it once again.
As the day of judgement looms, the pre-game battles begin; Carefree Chelsea will be covering the clash of the titans as it all unfolds. The player duels and comparisons keep the fans entertained, but let’s forget about the players just for a second; Pep Guardiola has failed to beat Thomas Tuchel in their last three matches. This is unfamiliar territory for the German himself.
It has been a game of chess for these two masterminds for the last 7 years but Guardiola has always been one step ahead. There’s a chance that he can reclaim the throne this weekend however following a shaky performance against Southampton last weekend, Guardiola cannot afford to overthink his starting eleven this time around.
Both managers hailed as tactical magicians have faced one another on numerous occasions in both Germany and England. Though they have been pitted against each other on game days, they hold each other in very high regard.
The pair famously sat down for dinner to discuss tactics in Munich during their time in Germany seven years ago. Whilst they used salt and pepper shakers on their table to map out formations and tactics, Tuchel took notes in admiration of the then Bayern Munich boss and has now successfully beaten the Spaniard after years of trying.
Tuchel has not been shy of admitting that Guardiola’s managerial career has influenced the way he sees football. He previously stated via Chelsea’s official website,
“When I understood football, there was Pep and Barcelona who taught me everything about this game.”
He further continues, “Pep is a big big influence on me until today, I have a feeling that anytime I watch a game from him I will learn something about football and learn something new which makes it for me very very curious and it’s a challenge to be in the same league with him now and compete with him on this level, I’m grateful.”
The parallels between the managerial careers of both managers are uncanny. Previously the head coach for Mainz, Tuchel faced the wrath of Pep Guardiola’s formidable Bayern Munich team. Their first meet ended in a 4-1 defeat for the German whilst the second only saw Tuchel’s men concede twice.
His move to Dortmund was then met with a 5-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the 2015/16 season. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller ripped Tuchel’s men to shreds whilst Aubameyang managed to salvage a goal.
Three back to back defeats for the German and he went back to the drawing board. There’s no shame in losing to Bayern Munich as their presence in Europe was formidable but Tuchel wanted to challenge for the title and go head to head with Munich’s finest talents.
The race for the title went down to the wire before the two coaches met again in March 2016. With Dortmund just 5 points behind the then title leaders Bayern Munich, the boys in yellow and black had it all to play for.
The match ended in a goalless 0-0 draw. However, Tuchel finally gained his first point over his rival. That’s when the tide began to turn. Suffering only 1 loss in their last 4 clashes, it sounds like the apprentice has now surpassed the teacher.
Once a student of Guardiola’s masterclasses, Tuchel’s luck has taken a 180-degree turn and he has set a winning streak against Guardiola. It’s now three back to back defeats for the Spaniard. Chelsea faithful expect Tuchel to level out the playing field as he goes for his 4th win leaving them with 4 wins apiece on their head to head tally.
Chelsea is expected to field a strong starting eleven considering the 10 changes that were made for their midweek clash against Aston Villa. We’d expect Guardiola to do the same. The only difference is Manchester City fans worry that Guardiola may overthink yet another important match and make unwarranted changes.
One thing we can say as Chelsea fans is that Tuchel rarely makes the wrong move. Since he has arrived in West London, he has gained the trust of the fan base to the extent that we are slowly beginning to trust Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal again. Though his time at Manchester City has been nothing short of successful, Guardiola’s men will be aiming to get revenge for their Champions League loss. The question now is, will Pep overthink it yet again?
We will soon find out once the lineups are revealed on Saturday morning.
Do you think Tuchel can get one over Pep again this weekend? Follow our Carefree Chelsea Writer/Presenter Anita Abayomi on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source by Football London