Guardiola restricted to career low by Chelsea but Man City still take the spoils

The Catalan coach is famed for seeing his sides dominate possession, but the Premier League champions did things differently against the Blues

Pep Guardiola recorded a career low as a coach in Manchester City’s Premier League clash with Chelsea, but still saw his side pick up a vital 2-1 win.

The Catalan is renowned for his ball-playing philosophy, with sides under his tutelage tending to dominate possession.

Having introduced tiki-taka to the world at Barcelona, Guardiola was able to enjoy considerable success with the Liga giants.

Another trophy-laden spell at Bayern Munich followed, with the vast majority of opponents passed and moved into submission.

Guardiola sought to add those qualities to City’s game upon taking the reins at the Etihad Stadium.

It took him a season to get things right, but back-to-back title triumphs and an historic domestic treble in 2018-19 have seen him showered with further praise.

His current employers are looking to secure a hat-trick of English top-flight crowns this season, but have suffered a few early setbacks.

That has left them playing catch-up on league leaders Liverpool.

City were able to ensure that they remain nine points off the pace during their most recent outing against Chelsea – a game which saw them dip to a new low for Guardiola on the possession front.

Frank Lampard has sought to favour a similar approach to Guardiola since taking the reins at Stamford Bridge.

He has shown considerable faith in academy graduates, with his Chelsea side full of youthful exuberance.

That allowed them to pose plenty of problems for City at the Etihad Stadium.

N’Golo Kante edged them in front against the title holders on Saturday, but the Blues were unable to build on a 21st-minute opener.

That was not through a lack of trying, with Chelsea able to ask questions of City that they have grown unaccustomed to facing.

Guardiola and his troops were still able to find an answer, which those in Manchester will consider to be another mark of a champion side.

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez turned a meeting with Chelsea on its head within 16 minutes of Kante breaking the deadlock.

They were not as fluent during the second-half of a testing tie, but would have been even more comfortable at the final whistle were it not for another contentious VAR decision which chalked off a Raheem Sterling effort for offside.

That mattered little in the grand scheme of things as Guardiola, who is already considered to be an all-time great, proving that he has much more in his coaching locker than merely Plan A.