Pep Guardiola is one of the best in the business when it comes to coaching a team. He is surrounded by quality talent, but the way he gets his team to play can often be mesmerising.
His players make it look easy to play against a high pressing team, always managing to have a spare man to pass to regardless of how good the opposition is. This comes direct from Guardiola’s coaching on the training ground.
But last night, Frank Lampard figured out a great way to beat that – by not pressing high at all.
Sure, this is not some coaching revelation, many teams play City and sit deep. But Lampard’s Chelsea are a high pressing team and in the majority of their games this season, they dominate possession.
Lampard chose to sit deep and let City have the ball, rather than tire his players out using a high press that would often get broken down.
But the key to Lampard’s tactical masterclass last night was his player selection.
As per usual, social media fans slated Lampard’s team selection before the game even started as he selected the likes of Ross Barkley and Mason Mount over more ball playing midfielders such as Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
But using these quick high energy players was essentially what won Chelsea the game. They could effectively counter-attack, whilst also having two real runners in centre midfield who were box-to-box being effective in defence and in attack.
Lampard got his team defending as a unit to contain City, and counter attacked them with the sheer pace and energy that he filled the rest of his starting line up with, and he wasn’t overly concerned with keeping hold of the ball.
This was sheer genius from Lampard, and it shows his versatility and adaptability he has as a manager.
Although City had a couple of good chances as well, Chelsea could have easily scored more goals on the night.