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Conte Out Coaches Pep As Chelsea Extend Lead At Top

Antonio Conte v Pep GuardiolaAntonio Conte came out on top in his battle of wits with Pep Guardiola, even though Chelsea had to ride their luck before securing a 3-1 over Manchester City in an eventful clash at the Etihad.

It means that the Italian kept his place at the top of the Premier League while Guardiola was left to reflect on his first home defeat since taking over in the summer and only his 11th home defeat in his career.

Here is a look at the decisions that each manager made on Saturday.

Team selection

Both managers were forced into an unexpected change by injury. Raheem Sterling was a late withdrawal for City, with Guardiola drafting in Leroy Sane for his first league start in six weeks.

Nemanja Matic was ruled out for Chelsea with a muscle injury so Cesc Fabregas made only his second Premier League start under Conte.

Guardiola decided to match Chelsea’s back three and leave Bacary Sagna on the bench, using Sane and Jesus Navas as wing-backs to put pressure on Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso.

Guardiola 6.5/10

Conte 7.5/10

Tactical battle

City’s tactics worked in the first half as they bossed the game for an hour, particularly down the Chelsea left. Indeed, it was Navas who took on Alonso and got in the cross that led to Gary Cahill scoring an own-goal.

City also had a number of penalty appeals turned down, a header by Fernandinho ruled out for offside, and then saw Kevin De Bruyne hit the bar with the goal at his mercy.

In addition to that, David Luiz was lucky to stay on the field when he clearly blocked off Aguero as the Argentine threatened to run clear onto Cesar Azpilicueta’s poor back-pass in the first half.

But having rode their luck, Chelsea struck with devastating effect. Guardiola had warned on the eve of this game that Conte’s side would be dangerous on the counter-attack and don’t need many chances to score goals, and they demonstrated it ruthlessly here. Claudio Bravo hardly had a save to make besides the three goals he conceded.

All three came from breakaways, Diego Costa latching onto Fabregas’s long ball to score the first and releasing Willian for the second before Alonso put through Eden Hazard for the third.

Guardiola 7/10

Conte 8/10


The key change came from Conte less than five minutes into the second half, putting on Willian for the ineffective Pedro. The former Barcelona star had been praised by his old boss Guardiola in the build-up to this game, but he did little to justify it here.

Willian, on the other hand, posed an immediate problem for Aleksandar Kolarov and raced clear to score Chelsea’s second goal.

Conte was forced into another change towards the end when Costa limped off and had to be replaced by Nathan Chalobah, while Batshuayi came on for Hazard in the final stages to waste time.

Guardiola tried to change the course of the game by reverting to a flat back-four in the 69th minute, sending on Gael Clichy for the disappointing Sane, but it backfired as Chelsea grabbed their second goal down the left side where Clichy was playing moments later.

Yaya Toure replaced the equally disappointing Ilkay Gundogan to little effect, and the decision to go for broke and send on striker Kelechi Iheabacho for defender John Stones did not pay off as Chelsea got a third.

Guardiola 5/10

Conte 7.5/10


Guardiola 18.5/30

Conte 23/30