It was quite apt that the last match of the #Premier League weekend just gone was Man City v #Chelsea. The two teams that met at the Etihad stadium were widely tipped before the start of the season to contend for the title and this match, coming at the end of a weekend of shocks demonstrates why this will prove to be the case.
Man City and Chelsea both have something that no other team in the Premier League can boast and that is a squad which is not just ripe with quality but one that can be used to navigate the many different challenges and styles of play that arise throughout any season. In this game both teams adapted their game plan out of respect for their opponents but most importantly in the knowledge that this was an occasion that doesn't allow for care free flamboyancy. James Milner hadn't been a regular starter for Man City so far this season but he was able to come into the side and displayed hard work and graft whilst showing his versatility as he played in three different positions throughout the game. For Chelsea, Ramires isn't always the most effective attacking player but did a good job for the majority of the game whilst Jose Mourinho had the option to bring on Andre Schuerrle to offer a different threat displaying the depth of quality in his squad.
Games between title rivals are often likely to be tight and cagey and it becomes important therefore that your central defensive pairing remains strong in the hope that the team may be able to benefit from one of the chances that does arrive later in the match and this was something which was also clearly evident on Sunday. John Terry and Gary Cahill proved, as ever, to be solid in the way that they repelled most things that Man City threw at them, the goal conceded at the end of the match was only the result of Schuerrle's introduction demonstrating how an attacking change can be a risk when going for the win in a big game. For Man City, Kompany and Managala showed encouraging signs as a partnership and in combination with Chelsea's central defensive pairing highlighted the weaknesses of other teams in emphatic fashion.
Manchester United have great attacking players but they demonstrated a weakness that is not just possessed by them but also the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal. This weakness is a refusal to adapt playing style to meet the differing demands and challenges of each team in this league. Manchester United continued to attack throughout their match against Leicester which wouldn't be such a bad thing if they had a central defence which was prepared to stand up to the pressure exerted on them. Tyler Blackett and Johnny Evans or Chris Smalling do not have the physical presence necessary to intimidate opposition strikers and you can never get away with attacking play that has no anchor at the back, something which Liverpool found to their very high cost last season.
Man City and Chelsea won't be impressive every week, indeed Man City have already had a bad day at the office against Stoke, but the simple summary of why they are the best two teams in this league is that they can respond to any challenge they are given - if a team wants to go all out and attack they will be sure to join the party, if they have a big, tight game then they can bring in the players that will graft for ninety minutes, if they are down to ten man as Man City were against Chelsea then they are able to enact sensible game management and experience which gives them a fighting chance.
The fact is that Man City and Chelsea have a team for 'all seasons' and in this crazy and unpredictable league you won't achieve success otherwise. #Manchester City