Both Chelsea and Manchester City had two new managers at the helm during the start of the previous season. But at the end of it, these two managers had quite a diverse outing. While an Italian in London was turning his team into the invincibles, a Spaniard’s team, on the other hand, was leaking goals almost every game.
But now that the new season is about to begin, both Guardiola and Conte will know pretty well that the previous season means nothing. Both of them have made a host of new signings and are ready to deep dive once again. So we take a look at how both these two have lined up their midfield – a place where most of the teams make or break their season.
Firstly, let’s just take a moment and understand what will Chelsea and Manchester City’s midfield look like come the next season. Chelsea will most likely have the duo of Kante and Bakayoko in central midfield and they will be supported by a defensive midfielder. But who that defensive midfielder will be is anybody’s guess, given the fact that Chelsea have just sold off Nemanja Matic. City, on the other hand, have quite the opposite problem. There are a lot of choices as they have a string of players who are eligible to play in midfield. In the defensive midfield they have the option of both Gundogan as well as Yaya Toure and in central midfield, they are likely to field the duo of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne. But there are other players also who are quite capable of playing in central midfield.
But since Chelsea are yet to figure out their defensive midfield, we will keep the comparison down to only the two central midfielders.
As soon as the attacking capabilities come into the picture there can be only one winner and that is Manchester City. Manchester City’s duo of David Silva and De Bruyne reaped havoc all throughout last season and together they scored 10 goals and made 25 assists. While N’Golo Kante scored only 1 goal and made that same number of assists. Bakayoko’s attacking record for Monaco is also nothing to be proud of either as he too made only a single assist throughout the whole Ligue 1 season and scored twice.
So clearly Man City’s midfielders are much more comfortable while going forward but to be honest that was also one of their biggest drawbacks from last season. Guardiola’s team were so prefixed with an attacking mindset that they leaked bagful of goals, especially towards the latter half of the season.
If someone were to ask Antonio Conte one of his main reasons for winning the Premier League he will immediately point towards N’Golo Kante. Chelsea brought Kante from Leicester City last summer in order to strengthen up their midfield. And the little Frenchman pulled out the same level of performance which had helped the Foxes to win the Premier League title two seasons ago. In 2016/17 Kante made 83 interceptions all by himself at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield while David Silva made only 18. We will not bring De Bruyne into the picture because throughout the course of the previous season the Belgian International played in 8 different positions throughout the pitch.
Bakayoko too is built as a strong defensive unit and he made 54 interceptions last season in Ligue 1 for Monaco. So clearly when it comes to defence Chelsea’s French duo are more than capable of doing the job and if Conte can add a defensive midfielder into the mix then they will surely have one of the strongest midfields in the Premier League – once again.