Thomas Tuchel has got the better of Pep Guardiola not once, but twice in the last three weeks as Chelsea have secured two victories over Man City.
Chelsea’s head coach stopped Guardiola gunning for the quadruple this season when his Blues knocked City out of the FA Cup at the semi final stage at Wembley three weeks ago, Hakim Ziyech scoring the only goal of the game.
Ziyech was at it again three weeks later when Chelsea beat City 2-1 at the Etihad on Saturday, the Moroccan netting the leveller before Marcos Alosno’s late winner secured a second win in 21 days for Tuchel over the genius Guardiola.
How much you can read into those games is up to you. Guardiola made eight changes to his side for the FA Cup semi final and was accused of disrespecting the competition.
He went one better and made nine for the Premier League game and his side got beat once again, Chelsea halting City’s title parade for another few days.
The trio of times the duo will take on each other culminates in the big one at the end of the month – the Champions League final. Whether that will be played in Istanbul, Wembley or Portugal, we wait and see.
Looking even further ahead however, Guardiola vs Tuchel looks set to be another enticing rivalry for the City boss to get embroiled in. He’s seen off Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard during his time at the Etihad and now a new challenger has arrived in Tuchel.
Tuchel’s contract is up at the end of next season but it’ll be staggering if he isn’t offered an extension sooner or later, especially if he completes a Cup double, for it to go far beyond that. Guardiola penned a new two-year deal at the back end of 2020 and will be in Manchester until 2023.
City are closing in on a third Premier League title in four seasons with Guardiola in charge. He wants that holy grail of the Champions League trophy as he, even by his own words, has yet to win it without Lionel Messi.
Tuchel has hailed Guardiola for creating a “winning machine” at City and it was Guardiola’s side romping to a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge in early January that started the ball rolling for Frank Lampard’s eventual demise in west London.
Guardiola and Tuchel go back a long way to their time in Germany with Tuchel in charge at Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola doing his thing with Bayern Munich. Guardiola has previously spoken of his friendship with Tuchel.
“He’s a friend of mine and I’m happy to see him,” he said upon Tuchel’s appointment at Chelsea. The duo shared a long pre-match chat at the Etihad on Saturday before kick off when all friendships were put aside.
While Tuchel has gained the upper hand on Guardiola this season, looking ahead to the summer will see them do battle off the field in the transfer market.
Both are looking at new strikers to add to their collective wealth of attacking talents. City are losing Sergio Aguero this summer at the end of his contract while Tuchel isn’t convinced with either Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud up front.
Kai Havertz has played as a false nine with varying success while Timo Werner plays best as a second striker with someone up just in front of him.
Erling Haaland is the name on everyone’s lips and at £180million, there are only two Premier League clubs who could realistically afford him – City and Chelsea. Likewise Harry Kane if he became available, though Manchester United will be sniffing around as well.
So off the pitch and on the pitch, a new rivalry in the Premier League is emerging. Guardiola vs Tuchel looks set to be one that could run and run.