Watford goalkeeping hero Daniel Bachmann says Manchester City are a “different kettle of fish” to Premier League title rivals Chelsea.
The Austria international faced both teams in the space of three days at Vicarage Road, and was in no doubt that there is a gulf in class between Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions and Thomas Tuchel’s contenders.
The Blues won 3-1 in north London, but the scoreline was kept down only by a string of saves from Bachmann, and some ordinary City finishing – he made nine saves in total, compared to the three he made as Chelsea escaped with a fortunate 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
And he later said, when asked how the two teams – who had occupied the top two spots until Chelsea slipped up in defeat at West Ham on Saturday afternoon – compared.
“I don’t think there is another footballing team like City in the world. Their movement on and off the ball is incredible,” he said.
“It’s a different kettle of fish if I’m being honest. Man City only exist once, the way they play football and how they are. They’re certainly the toughest to play against.
“We knew it was going to be tough, playing against City is always hard. They’re probably the best team in the world.
“They score after four minutes and it makes you fear the worst because they’ve done it so many times when they score early on. They demolish teams.
“We managed to keep the scoreline respectable, created a couple of chances and ended up scoring. When you score with 15 minutes to go, you never know what could happen and you never give up and try to get something out of the game, which we probably didn’t deserve to be brutally honest.”
A glance at the stats of the two games reveals the difference in performance between City and Chelsea.
The Manchester Blues had 77 per cent of possession, while Chelsea shared the ball 50-50, and while the Hornets managed 14 shots to Chelsea’s eight, their goal was peppered by City, who had 26 to their opponents’ 11.
Bachmann was at the heart of the action, repeatedly denying Jack Grealish a goal and pulling off fine saves to thwart Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, although he could not prevent Bernardo Silva’s two classy goals and the early Sterling header that gave City the lead.
Asked what it’s like to face the City bombardment, Bachmann said: “You tell me, what can you do? It’s incredible.
“You have to stay compact and not concede early on… we hung in there. It was better second half, we had a bit more control of the game. We didn’t have much of the ball before half-time.
“These aren’t the games that define our season, the last five or six. We had a bonus win against Man United but now is when it starts for us. Now we need to start picking up points from teams around us.
“If we play like we did on Wednesday, even Sunday against Leicester, then we’ll cause teams a lot of problems. Chelsea are the champions of Europe and we definitely shouldn’t have lost that game.”