Man City vs Chelsea: 'Guardiola might win the battle but Conte can win the war'
Ex-England international Stan Collymore has been more impressed with the start made to Premier League life by the man at Chelsea than the greatly hyped Manchester City boss
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola “might win the battle” with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte, as they prepare to lock horns on Saturday, but former Stan Collymore says that he might not “win the war”.
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Both men are new to Premier League coaching circles, having taken up their respective posts over the summer.
They arrived with glowing reputations formed in previous jobs, with Guardiola credited with turning Barcelona into a modern day superpower, while backing up that success with more titles at Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
Conte, meanwhile, has worked his way up to the top, with spells at Juventus and the Italy national side seeing him prove his worth as a man-manager and tactical genius.
Collymore believes that it is the latter who is now making the greatest impression in England, with Chelsea riding high at the top of the table on the back of seven straight wins, while Guardiola and City have yet to fully hit their stride.
The former Liverpool and England striker wrote in the Daily Mirror: “While the City boss might win the battle, it doesn’t automatically mean he will win the war.
“In terms of knowing their squad and getting to grips with the Premier League, it is the Italian who is ahead of the curve.
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“Which is why I would be jumping at the chance to play for him if he and Guardiola were both trying to sign me.”
He added: “Guardiola epitomises the modern manager – it’s about grand designs and plans rather than practicalities on the pitch.
“Conte is different. He made a poor start in England, having arrived with an idea of playing a 4-2-4 formation. When that wasn’t, working he switched to 4-3-3, then to 3-4-3 and since then his side have won seven games on the spin.
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“He looked at everything and went: ‘You know what, I’m going to go to three central defenders and give Diego Costa more support.'”
Chelsea will travel to the Etihad Stadium buoyed by a run that has delivered maximum points from seven successive fixtures and seen them net 19 times while conceding just once.
City, meanwhile, have won only three of their last seven – although they have claimed back-to-back victories against Crystal Palace and Burnley.