Chelsea

Chelsea's title credentials come into question in Man City defeat

Tom Gott
Chelsea were dismantled by Man City
Chelsea were dismantled by Man City / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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There's never any shame in losing to Manchester City, but to do so in the manner Chelsea did on Saturday is borderline embarrassing.

The reigning champions of Europe - a title Chelsea earned by beating City - were absolutely thumped. They were battered. From the first minute until the last, they were nowhere near good enough. 'Second best' doesn't even do it justice.

It was abundantly clear that Chelsea were scared of this City side, which is just not good enough from a team who began the game as most neutral's favourites to romp to the Premier League title.

Thomas Tuchel went for the 3-5-2 formation that did wonderfully against Tottenham last time out, but the result could hardly have been more different here. The trio of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante were hounded by City's midfield and could not get any control of the game.

They weren't just bested. They were absolutely thumped from pillar to post, and all of the sudden, the aura of invincibility that Chelsea boasted just a few days ago is gone.

It wasn't even a flaw in the formation. We've seen Chelsea's two-man midfield overwhelmed by teams in the past, so Tuchel was absolutely right to add more bodies there, but he just couldn't find enough players. City felt like they had two or three more men on the pitch for most of the game.

The lack of time in midfield meant Chelsea couldn't get the ball up top, where Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner were trying to live up to the social media hype that their pairing had generated. Neither striker was good enough, but there was only so much they could do when they were feeding off the scrappiest scraps you've ever seen.

Chelsea didn't even muster up a shot on target - the first time they have failed to do so since Tuchel joined the club.

Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel will be livid with the performance / Robin Jones/Getty Images

What made it all more frustrating was that Chelsea came out of their shell after Gabriel Jesus' scrappy strike and did actually threaten to cause problems - but it was all too late at that point. The damage was done.

Now, let's not pretend like Chelsea are this awful team all of a sudden. They're not, they're still very, very good, but they proved against City that they're not this all-dominant side that they have been built up as in the past few weeks.

You can beat this Chelsea side, but not only that, you can clearly absolutely smack them around the pitch if you play your cards right. That's not something you should be saying about 'title favourites'.

There won't be many sides that finish above Chelsea in the Premier League table this year - and it's definitely possible that the Blues will win the whole thing - but what this performance made abundantly clear is that a romp to the trophy is not going to happen. The Blues aren't there yet.

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