Rio Ferdinand thinks Thomas Tuchel’s decision to play two up front against defending champions Manchester City “backfired” on Chelsea.
Many saw the Blues as the team to beat this season after impressive displays in their first five Premier League matches of the season.
However, Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game on Saturday as Man City beat Chelsea 1-0 and leapfrogged them in the Premier League table.
Tuchel’s side and City are joined by Manchester United, Everton and Brighton on 13 points, while Liverpool are one point clear at the summit.
And following Pep Guardiola’s side’s victory at Stamford Bridge, former Man Utd defender Ferdinand is finding it hard to see past City for the title.
Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five Youtube channel: “The way City played at the weekend, that is the way champions go to a rival and say, ‘Listen, you think you’re at our level? You guys better start working more’.
“And I think Chelsea looked a little bit [overawed]. Tuchel said after that maybe they were a bit fazed by the occasion.
“He changed his style of play, the formation, played two up front, which I think backfired. They didn’t play long enough, they tried to keep playing and got caught with the press.
“In this league, in the Premier League, City will dominate every team possession-wise, every team. It’s just, can they finish the chances off?
“I said Chelsea were favourites a couple of weeks ago, but after watching them two – probably the best two teams in the league for the last six months – I can’t see past City. Seriously I can’t.
“Unless there’s some massive injury crisis at the club. Because what Pep does there, they dominate people in and out of possession. That’s the key, he dominates you with the ball and he dominates you without it. That was so impressive for me sitting there watching it live.’
Ferdinand added: “The way they dealt with this Chelsea team, at Stamford Bridge… and I remember Stamford Bridge is a hard place to go, at the best of times it’s a hard place to go. And the way that they went about their business was phenomenal.
“Off the ball they were unreal, it reminded me of Pep’s team in Barcelona. Aggressive, pressing high up the pitch, everybody in tune, leaving space in behind but don’t worry about that, they’ve got Ederson sweeping up. And really everyone in tune with that.
“The big thing for me is, people were saying they’ve not got a number nine, but they’re up there in all the things like most shots on target, most shots, etcetera in the league – only behind Liverpool I think in that stat.
“But the goals conceded: they’ve had five clean sheets, more than anyone else in the league, one goal conceded, Ederson has only had to make five saves – five saves! Look at the other teams, 14 saves Alisson has had to make, 20 saves Mendy has had to make, 17 saves De Gea’s had to make. Five saves!
“It’s ridiculous what they’re doing, and a lot of that is they keep the ball off the other team with possession etcetera, but the way these guys are pressing!”