Much of the conversation around Chelsea has centered around Maurizio Sarri’s tactics, but for Sarri himself, Chelsea biggest problems have stemmed from mentality and attitude. The new Chelsea head coach has touched on that theme repeatedly in recent weeks, usually in a negative sense.
But on Saturday, a bit of classic Chelsea reared its beautiful head at Stamford Bridge as the Blues beat defending champions Manchester City, 2-0. Chelsea’s play was distinctly different than in years past, especially in the second-half, as Sarri fought fire with fire, but the determination, mentality, and attitude were classic Chelsea — perhaps no more so than from Triple Centurion César Azpilicueta and goalscorer David Luiz.
In fact, Chelsea have now gone 16 years without losing to the defending Champions of England at Stamford Bridge.
2002 - Chelsea are unbeaten against defending Premier League champions at Stamford bridge in the league since April 2002 (W5, D6). Resolute.— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) December 8, 2018
This statistic looked like a silly bit of trivia before kick-off today. Now, it looks like like a statement of intent.
(Incidentally, Guardiola has now lost to Chelsea three times — the most game he’s lost to any one team in his career!)
Is this the turnaround Sarri and Chelsea need for the winter period and the second half of the season? It wouldn’t surprise me if it was.