Title contenders, Chelsea and Manchester City have played out the first 45 minutes just like one would expect them to - it’s been fast-paced, breathless, intriguing and enthralling.
Pep Guardiola’s City have set up with a very dynamic shape, which is roughly a 4-1-4-1 whilst not in possession of the ball with Fabian Delph assuming the left-back role and Delph slotting into midfield to form a 3-2-4-1 whilst in possession. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have been the main creative forces through the middle, while Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have been tasked with providing width to the City attack. Chelsea, in stark contrast, are playing in a 3-5-2 shape with one tactical tweak in the form of Cesar Azpilicueta occupying the right wing-back position in an endeavour to counter the blistering pace and trickery of Leroy Sane.
Chelsea’s attacking forays have been limited to say the least, with Alvaro Morata’s header from an N’Golo Kante cross and a shot on target from a goal-mouth scramble the closest the Blues have come to breaking the deadlock. City have been full of enterprise but haven’t fashioned as many clear-cut chances as they would’ve liked. Gabriel Jesus pounced on the slightest delay from Thibaut Courtois’ on the ball and almost scored early on, while David Silva had a fierce effort from range saved by Courtois. The Chelsea goalkeeper was also forced into a save from a header deflected off Marcos Alonso as a frenetic half drew to a close. Chelsea were dealt an untimely blow, however, with Alvaro Morata signaling for a change in the 35th minute due to what’s suspected to be a hamstring problem. Willian replaced him immediately, but hasn’t done much of note since.
A 15-minute breather, then we dive back into this fascinating battle for another 45 minutes. Sit tight!