While Maurizio Sarri this time didn’t say much to his humiliated players in the privacy of the Etihad dressing room – because he’s pretty much said all he can – Pep Guardiola was publicly raising what might be the most relevant point in all of this.

The Manchester City manager offered a predictable defence of his friend after subjecting him to a 6-0 humiliation, and insisted Chelsea should stick with Sarri, but then more unpredictably began to elaborate on why he is in his own job.

He thereby also pinpointed utterly crucial differences between the clubs.

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“People don’t understand how difficult the first year can be,” Guardiola said. “People need time. It needs owners to really believe in that. The main reason I came to Manchester City is because I don’t have to convince [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain]. He knows me.”

City also knew exactly what they wanted. The appointment of Guardiola was the ultimate objective of a supremely organised – and lavishly funded – long-term plan. It has so often felt that everything at the club was put in place specifically to suit the Catalan. Much of the football has ended up just as seamless, just as co-ordinated.

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1/22 Ederson – 7 out of 10

Forced into one fine save by Higuain’s first-half volley but otherwise rarely called into action.

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2/22 Kyle Walker – 7

Another improved display. Together with Stones, kept Hazard in check down Chelsea’s left.

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3/22 John Stones – 7

An assured performance, which is what we have come to expect from a player who rarely has an off day anymore.

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4/22 Aymeric Laporte – 7

Offered Higuain little room for manoeuvre. Behind Virgil van Dijk, perhaps the finest centre-half in the top flight.

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5/22 Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7

A surprise selection at left-back, with Laporte moved centrally, but continues to repay Guardiola’s faith with consistent performances.

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6/22 Fernandinho – 8

Won the battle for control in the middle of the park against Jorginho. Continues to defy his age with energetic performances.

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7/22 Ilkay Gundogan – 8

In excellent nick. Followed last week’s fine Etihad display against Arsenal with a goal from range.

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8/22 Kevin De Bruyne – 7

Intelligent free-kick unleashed Bernardo and led to City’s opener.

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9/22 Bernardo Silva – 9

Another player in excellent form. Impressing on the right flank despite playing centrally for much of the season.

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10/22 Raheem Sterling – 8

Positioned himself well to bag a brace. Arguably even more of a threat coming inside from the left flank than he was playing wide on the right.

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11/22 Sergio Aguero – 9

Consecutive home hat-tricks. Now City’s all-time leading league goalscorer. Only loses a point for his horrendous first-half miss.

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12/22 Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5

Far from Chelsea’s worst offender but difficult to give him any credit when he conceded six. Gundogan’s, in particular, was preventable.

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13/22 Cesar Azpilicueta – 5

Gave away the penalty for Aguero’s third and beaten too often by Sterling.

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14/22 Antonio Rudiger – 6

Again, not the main culprit for Chelsea’s defensive failings, though he could help shore up Sarri’s porous defence.

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15/22 David Luiz – 4

Imperious in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, less so in this return. Did not help Barkley with tame headed clearance in the build-up to City’s third.

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16/22 Marcos Alonso – 3

Well off-the-pace and no match for Bernardo. Offers little when unable to surge forward from left-back.

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17/22 Ross Barkley – 4

The header back towards his own goal, setting up City’s third, was just yet another example of poor decision making.

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18/22 Jorginho – 4

Another game which passed the summer signing by entirely. Even if he were playing under Guardiola, hard to imagine him exerting the same influence as Fernandinho.

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19/22 N’Golo Kanté – 5

Yet to convince in the new role despite six months of practice. Did his best to stem the City tide but offered next to nothing going forward.

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20/22 Pedro – 5

An intriguing selection over Willian but one which did not pay off.

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21/22 Gonzalo Higuain – 6

One stinging volley threatened Ederson but, like Hazard, he was otherwise kept quiet.

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22/22 Eden Hazard – 6

Looked lively in glimpses with the ball at his feet but often crowded out by a solid City backline.

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1/22 Ederson – 7 out of 10

Forced into one fine save by Higuain’s first-half volley but otherwise rarely called into action.

Getty

2/22 Kyle Walker – 7

Another improved display. Together with Stones, kept Hazard in check down Chelsea’s left.

Getty

3/22 John Stones – 7

An assured performance, which is what we have come to expect from a player who rarely has an off day anymore.

Getty

4/22 Aymeric Laporte – 7

Offered Higuain little room for manoeuvre. Behind Virgil van Dijk, perhaps the finest centre-half in the top flight.

Getty

5/22 Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7

A surprise selection at left-back, with Laporte moved centrally, but continues to repay Guardiola’s faith with consistent performances.

Getty

6/22 Fernandinho – 8

Won the battle for control in the middle of the park against Jorginho. Continues to defy his age with energetic performances.

Getty

7/22 Ilkay Gundogan – 8

In excellent nick. Followed last week’s fine Etihad display against Arsenal with a goal from range.

Getty

8/22 Kevin De Bruyne – 7

Intelligent free-kick unleashed Bernardo and led to City’s opener.

Getty

9/22 Bernardo Silva – 9

Another player in excellent form. Impressing on the right flank despite playing centrally for much of the season.

Getty

10/22 Raheem Sterling – 8

Positioned himself well to bag a brace. Arguably even more of a threat coming inside from the left flank than he was playing wide on the right.

Getty

11/22 Sergio Aguero – 9

Consecutive home hat-tricks. Now City’s all-time leading league goalscorer. Only loses a point for his horrendous first-half miss.

Getty

12/22 Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5

Far from Chelsea’s worst offender but difficult to give him any credit when he conceded six. Gundogan’s, in particular, was preventable.

Getty

13/22 Cesar Azpilicueta – 5

Gave away the penalty for Aguero’s third and beaten too often by Sterling.

Getty

14/22 Antonio Rudiger – 6

Again, not the main culprit for Chelsea’s defensive failings, though he could help shore up Sarri’s porous defence.

Getty

15/22 David Luiz – 4

Imperious in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, less so in this return. Did not help Barkley with tame headed clearance in the build-up to City’s third.

Getty

16/22 Marcos Alonso – 3

Well off-the-pace and no match for Bernardo. Offers little when unable to surge forward from left-back.

Getty

17/22 Ross Barkley – 4

The header back towards his own goal, setting up City’s third, was just yet another example of poor decision making.

Getty

18/22 Jorginho – 4

Another game which passed the summer signing by entirely. Even if he were playing under Guardiola, hard to imagine him exerting the same influence as Fernandinho.

Getty

19/22 N’Golo Kanté – 5

Yet to convince in the new role despite six months of practice. Did his best to stem the City tide but offered next to nothing going forward.

Getty

20/22 Pedro – 5

An intriguing selection over Willian but one which did not pay off.

Getty

21/22 Gonzalo Higuain – 6

One stinging volley threatened Ederson but, like Hazard, he was otherwise kept quiet.

Getty

22/22 Eden Hazard – 6

Looked lively in glimpses with the ball at his feet but often crowded out by a solid City backline.

Getty

This is the consequence of a grand vision. It is all the more pointed given the old fears about what Chelsea could have ended up doing, when Roman Abramovich came in with his first wave of unprecedented spending back in 2003. City have effectively done what Chelsea didn’t. They showed how to really spend money intelligently, how to spend it with specific plans. There is the source of so many problems at Stamford Bridge.

Compare Guardiola’s situation to what Sarri walked into. In contrast to the clear structure at City, and the huge amount of football knowledge – much of it almost directly transposed from the Apple of the sport in Barcelona – Chelsea do not even have a director of football. Their last one, Michael Emenalo, has actually already got and left another job at Monaco in the 16 months since departing Chelsea.

That makes the fact Abramovich has so craved Barcelona football all the more ironic. Little is in place below him to bring it. The issue here is not whether Emenalo was good at his job, but that a role crucial to the vision of any club has for so long gone unfilled; a role crucial to the type of players you sign.

Do Chelsea even know what they want to be, beyond vague ambitions about being successful? And while many might point to the persistent return of so many trophies – especially as they reach another final in the League Cup – the reality is still that have regressed, and fallen behind rival clubs.

That will inevitably happen when you have a squad that has been put together without such unifying vision, when you bring in players of such different profiles, and few of them guaranteed stars even in the mould of Eden Hazard 2012.

Hazard and other players like him specifically picked Chelsea around then because they were so impressed with the long-term plans the club spelled out to them, tailored to individual players. It was similar when they almost persuaded Neymar to sign a few years ago, when a huge pitch was made to him in New York about how he could be the Michael Jordan to the club’s Chicago Bulls.

With some figures having left from the football side, these accounts aren’t heard as much any more. The hope is Christian Pulisic kick-starts this, and he did represent a coup, but he comes into a squad that needs significant surgery.

Chelsea looked devoid of answers at the Etihad (Getty Images)

This is not to absolve Sarri. A good manager with few political agendas who just wants to get on with the job, he now has to face fair criticism of his ability to get a response out of those players, and the execution of his tactics. No matter the wider arguments about persisting with a philosophy that he needs these players to learn, it was surely madness to persist with it for this game. Antonio Conte’s words from last season come to mind. “I’m not so stupid to play open against City and lose 3-0 or 4-0.”

Try 6-0, and everything that entails, including some difficult conversations with the hierarchy. It is the very idealism that caused it, though, that cuts to the core of much of this.

Is the Chelsea squad even able to play Sarri’s football?

Some players have privately started to complain that everything is “too tactical” and that there is now an overload of instructions that they can’t keep up with. Others wonder whether this squad is actually tactically intelligent enough to really learn this.

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Again, compare to Guardiola. City began to buy such players for his football even arrived, most obviously in Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.

But that just brings us back to the wider vision, and planning.

Maybe the way this Chelsea squad has been constructed means they actually need short-term coaches who can apply easily-applicable ideas quickly. Maybe Sarri was never going to fit.

One football figure who has worked with the club quipped: “Chelsea are a football superpower, but they’ve employed an idealist Che Guevara figure.”

So will Chelsea cut their losses, or keep the faith?

What comes next for Chelsea will be key (Getty Images)

The early indications after the City match were that, despite the humiliating scale of the defeat – and even Sarri’s surprising comments about finally getting to talk to Abramovich – there would be no immediate action. The feeling is there are still too many big games in February, and too many variables.

That would represent a patience not often associated with the club.

Others feel it’s still just thinking month to month, and season to season, in a way they now need to really break from.

They need to start thinking about what they really want the team to be.

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