Guardiola says he's 'learned' from previous games against Chelsea
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Manchester City travel to Premier League table-toppers Chelsea in the early kick-off today in the desperate hope they don’t suffer a defeat that would leave them six points behind the Blues. City’s faltering attack faces a Chelsea defence which hasn’t conceded a single goal from open play this season.
Pep Guardiola’s side have scored just one goal in their opening two Premier League away games this season.
They also failed to find the back of the net at the Etihad Stadium last weekend as they were held to a goalless draw by Southampton.
Chelsea, meanwhile, look impregnable at the back and have been free-scoring at the other end thanks to the return of Romelu Lukaku.
The superstar forward has notched three goals since moving back to Stamford Bridge last month and his presence has allowed his fellow attackers to flourish in front of goal.
Ahead of today’s clash, Guardiola has been warned of three errors that could cost his side in their quest for a fourth league win of the season.
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That warning has come from Premier League winner Martin Keown, who won three titles and was part of Arsenal’s 2003/04 Invincibles side.
Keown believes that, for Guardiola to taste success at Stamford Bridge, he must select his sitting midfielder wisely, stop Lukaku and ensure City’s wing-backs don’t leave his side exposed at the back.
“Heading into the Champions League final last May, one or both of Fernandinho and Rodri had started 59 of Manchester City’s 60 previous games,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail.
“Then Pep Guardiola surprised everybody by opting to use Ilkay Gundogan as his sitting midfield instead.
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“That meant Gundogan, City’s top scorer, was the furthest midfielder from goal.
“Selecting the right sitter is vitally important. It’s imperative for that player to stop all the service into Romelu Lukaku’s feet today.
“It’s like the prodigal son has returned with Lukaku. He is back to show why Chelsea should never have let him leave in the first place and he’s proving people wrong, each and every week.
“He now holds the ball up brilliantly and looks like scoring whenever he shoots.
“City need to get bodies around him and block the supply line from Chelsea’s midfield.
“Rodri is probably the best player for stopping balls getting into Lukaku, in front of a probable centre-back pairing of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake.
“It’s also important that Guardiola’s full-backs do not leave City exposed to counter-attacks.
“Last week, Southampton’s Nathan Redmond was drifting into the space left by Kyle Walker.
“If one of City’s full-backs flies forward, the other should be staying back, mindful of the quick-thinking threat of Chelsea. City cannot leave the back door open.”
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