Pep Guardiola’s habit of over-experimenting in big matches, especially in Champions League knockout matches, is not new. This practice has given Guardiola success, for example, much more than the gift of failure. Before the match, it was being said on social media and in the media, it was Tuchel, another enemy of Guardiola in this match, Guardiola himself.
First of all, let’s think of a couple of successes. Before a crucial league match against Real Madrid, Lionel Messi was dragged from the wing in the middle and played as ‘False Nine’. That means playing him as a ‘shadow striker’, not a striker. Messi did not sit like a traditional striker but hovered around the Real defense like a bee.
Whether to mark Messi in the box or walk around the field behind Messi, he hesitated to scatter his defense, Pepe-Ramos himself. The result? Barcelona returned from Real’s field with a 6-2 victory. Guardiola’s discovery before the big match was a success.
From making right-back Joshua Kimikh a midfielder at Bayern to a left-back midfielder Alexander Jinchenko or Fabian Delph in City, Guardiola’s experiments have been successful.
The failures came on a bigger stage. Every time Bayern or City have been eliminated under him in the Champions League, Guardiola’s extra-experimental tactics have been behind the omission in almost all cases. In the 2014 Champions League, Real lost 5-0 in two legs, and after coming to City, they left the clubs like Spurs, Lyon and Monaco year after year. There is only one reason behind all this. Guardiola’s extra thinking.
Thinking is not a bad thing. But if it is exaggerated to do so, it is certainly not a good thing. The excesses that Guardiola made last night during the selection of the original XI. The team that has midfielders like Mason Mount, Angolo Kant who can successfully press continuously, the team that has young counter-attacking fast forwards like Werner, Hawartz, and the midfielders like Georgino to help them সি City put down some kind of defender against them. Without the midfielder. Fernandinho and Rodr—guez both sat on the bench. Who will handle the pressure of jumping like a wolf for Chelsea’s ball!
No one could handle it. Ilkay Gundoyan was brought down as a defensive midfielder. Gundoan’s role in Guardiola’s successful league winning streak this season is that of a goal-scoring midfielder. Guardiola did not send Gundoan to score in this match, but to help the defense.
Before the match, there was a lot of talk about Chelsea’s unbroken defense under Tuchel. Guardiola seems to have come down with the bet of breaking that unbroken defense. And in doing so, they made their defense useless. Chelsea has the advantage of implementing its plan properly. Who knows if Kante-Mount’s pockets were flooded without seeing Fernandinho or Rodri in the City XI!
Because? In a post-match press conference, Guardiola said he felt Gundoan was more effective than Rodri and Fernandinho in delivering successful long passes from midfield to Foden, Mahrez or De Bruyne. The coach also praised Gundoyan’s performance.
Guardiola may have forgotten that Gundoan was played as a defensive midfielder, not as an attacking midfielder, in Germany’s 6-0 defeat to Spain in the League of Nations. When did you get the chance to give yourself a successful long pass? The same thing happened last night.
Sterling, who has been dropped in Fernandinho’s place in hopes of an extra attack, has been in disgusting form all season. The way he is playing tomorrow, it is natural to question Guardiola’s decision-making ability.
Guardiola dropped two defensive midfielders, Fernandinho-Rodri, against Leon last time out. Then again, City suffered the absence of at least one more offensive player in the XI. This time he learned from his mistakes that he didn’t even bring down a defensive midfielder who could handle Chelsea’s press!
Chelsea’s only goal in the match came because of the absence of Fernandinho. City’s defense was scattered until the ball landed at Hawartz’s feet from Mendy’s pass through Mount Chillwell. Kyle Walker didn’t know who to handle, Mount or Chilwell. Meanwhile, the Stones have left their place behind the mount. Ruben Diaser has left with a big gap in defense to handle Werner
Gundoyan has left his place due to his instinct to attack. He did not think that Mount needed to be stopped. There was a lot of space in front of him, Mount did not have the speed to give the ball to Hawartz, who was close to the last of the City defenders. This is where Fernandinho’s lack is felt. If Brazil had this defensive midfielder, he would have chased the ball and at least stood so that he could not pass the mount.
Even at this age, Fernandini does a good job of anticipating and destroying any counter-attack. You can foul the opponent in such a way that the attack is lost but you don’t have to see yellow or red cards Fernandinho was the side character in the most important match in the history of the city.
The main protagonist saw the joy of Mount-Hawertz as a side character.