header decal

News

05 Aug 2018

Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City: Phil Foden stars as Sergio Aguero brace wins Community Shield

REUTERS/Toby Melville

78 days after they were last at the national stadium winning the FA Cup, Chelsea were second best to Manchester City this afternoon as Pep Guardiola claimed the season's first trophy at a Wembley bathed in glorious sunlight, the first time a team donning a blue home kit had done so since the Citizens themselves in 2012.

Despite lacking a few first team regulars, it's as if the season had never ended. Manchester City quickly found their rhythm and began the brighter of the two sides - Bernardo Silva championing the efforts to close down aggressively - with their relentless energy paying off in the 13th minute.

Building from the back and through midfield, Phil Foden was the architect running at Chelsea's heart to set Sergio Aguero up at the edge of the box for his 200th City goal in 293 games. It's just like clockwork. 

Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

The clock struck again in typical fashion in the 57th minute, as Aguero - making amends for missing a clear chance from Foden's pass just after half time - polished off a slick, incisive City counter-attack to score his second of the game, reminiscent of last year's title-winning campaign.

Whereas City took calculated risks in possession, Chelsea were cautious - perhaps indicative of how little time they've had under Maurizio Sarri - and struggled to create clear-cut opportunities, save only the directness of Callum Hudson-Odoi, who had their only attempt on target.

City's dominance told as the second half progressed, and all of Aguero, Foden, Brahim Diaz and Gabriel Jesus had opportunities to make it 3-0 as Chelsea proceeded to capitulate to the pressure.

Teenage titans

Without Eden Hazard, it was hardly a surprise to see Callum Hudson-Odoi in Chelsea's starting XI - especially after an impressive display in the International Champions Cup against Arsenal - but City's own teenage prodigy, Phil Foden, dominated the headlines.

Demonstrative of why Guardiola values the youngster so highly, Foden's wide array of talents were on display against the Blues, not once looking out of his depth against a strong opponent. The 18-year-old was eager to get on the ball in the opening period and demonstrated his comfort in possession through a series of neat exchanges on the left flank with Leroy Sane.

Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

His strength and agility were on show, too, as he wormed his way through a swarm of dark blue shirts to create the first goal, whilst his well-timed lofted pass sent Aguero through early in the second half, before Caballero saved a shot of his own a minute later. In total, the teenager created three chances, the most of anyone on the pitch.

Hudson-Odoi did, however, grow into the game and was the Blues' biggest threat in the first half. The 17-year-old gave Kyle Walker myriad of problems and there was a sense of fear every time he picked up possession one-on-one, given he completed 100% of his first half dribbles.

He also sent two shots Claudio Bravo's way, one of which the Chilean spilt in the six-yard box, before his substitution in the 59th minute.

Good things come to those who wait

Having only taken over the reins from Antonio Conte in the middle of July, it's unrealistic to expect Sarri to enact wholesale transformations in less than a month. The signs are certainly encouraging, but the Italian was out-played once more by Guardiola at Wembley.

Jorginho, signed as the central tenant of 'Sarri-ball,' was guilty of wastefulness and frequently gave possession away. Ross Barkley was unwilling to run with the ball and struggled as the creative element of the midfield three, whilst Alvaro Morata was left far too isolated up front.

Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

Perhaps the biggest concern for Sarri will be how weak the Blues looked defensively. Time and time again the Citizens were able to find pockets of space in dangerous areas, played their way out of pressure and split open an uncomfortable-looking centre back pairing of David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger to create overloads in the final third.

Whilst the Citizens seem raring to go for the new campaign - all singing from the same hymn sheet - there's plenty of work still to be done at Chelsea and Sarri needs the time to do so. The foundations are there, but good things come to those who wait.