Jeremy Doku’s skill demonstrates Manchester City’s advantage and Chelsea’s main issue.

As Chelsea’s management began to get to know the team over the past few months, they developed a fixation on a particular concept that is pertinent to this weekend’s match. They started researching what constitutes record-breaking teams and seasons with 100 points. That may seem a long way off, almost comically, but objectives are necessary.

 

Given that they are the only team to have accomplished a centurion season and continue to shatter records, Manchester City is the obvious choice for a case study.

 

The standard response to that question is probably “one of the most lavishly expensive football projects in history,” but that qualifier isn’t really applicable in this case because Chelsea’s ownership group is obviously willing to spend a lot of money on the project. Their current spending on transfer fees, if not wages exactly, has brought back memories of Roman Abramovich’s wild days from 2003 to 2006 as well as the initial years of Abu Dhabi’s ownership at City.

 

But through that, they may be able to look at the European champions for a more focused reason.

 

The foundation of Chelsea’s ambitious project, an unparalleled football experiment, is the recruitment of young players with Jeremy Doku-like skill sets.

 

That begs the obvious question of whether Doku’s impact at Chelsea would be identical. Or would he just be another inexperienced player with promise who needs guidance and direction?

 

Current form points to the latter.

Of course, there are restrictions. Even though Doku has been excellent so far, the true tests will be later. He had previously been considered by teams like Newcastle and Manchester United, but they believed he wasn’t quite mature enough. He seemed to be an excessively unpredictable player.

 

In light of Raheem Sterling’s divergent influence on both sides, his impact under Pep Guardiola thus far illustrates how unique City is.

 

Doku and a great deal of other comparable young players at Chelsea differ greatly in the roles they have been signed for. Talented players have all but been thrown into the London club’s attempt to overhaul the entire roster. Mauricio Pochettino has been left to sort it all out.

 

With the advantage of more than ten years of planning, City can be far more forensic. Their succession plans are very clear-cut and strategic; most signings are decided upon at least 18 months ahead of time, unless unforeseen circumstances arise, such as the sudden impact of Saudi Pro League money.

 

It was the reason why business this summer was delayed. As a result, Doku was expected to be the next man up in that attack, but as sometimes occurs in teams with such high levels of efficiency, a player with his caliber has been able to fit in perfectly.

It has even taken a slight detour, with Doku’s explosive play offering City’s smoothness an entirely new dimension.

 

It’s difficult not to feel a little sorry for Jack Grealish in that circumstance. Guardiola spent weeks working with him after he signed, trying to get him to think differently about the game and give it much more control. Grealish continued to discuss how, by the end of a season in which he had won his first title, he needed to change.

 

Doku, on the other hand, was recently added to the team and given more freedom, so Grealish was also benched.

This is not to suggest that the English playwright needs to worry too much about his medium- to long-term part. Sterling is the greatest authority on this, so Guardiola frequently brings players on and off the field, as Sterling is the first to admit. It’s a combination of man-management, tactical experimentation, keeping them alert, and whatever works at the moment.

 

In the end, Sterling believed he didn’t have that much time and tried to establish himself as a more significant player at a different big club.

 

However, there is a small irony there. Although Sterling is Chelsea’s most experienced attacker and must carry a heavy load when leading the play, his best function is arguably that of someone who can create real damage off the backs of other players. At that point, his running both on and off the ball can be extremely damaging.

The ridiculous game against Tottenham on Monday demonstrated the level of attention that can be placed on Sterling within this Chelsea squad, but it also had the unfavorable effect of giving Nicolas Jackson so many opportunities that he eventually scored a hat-trick simply through sheer volume of plays.

Even though Doku’s impact against Bournemouth and that will undoubtedly be compared, those were very different kinds of performances. These roles are extremely dissimilar.

 

The workload that Chelsea attackers like Cole Palmer and Jackson already have is increased for Sterling.

 

Doku has access to a roster of players at City who are adept at what they do. It implies that even as defenses try to figure him out, he can figure out his own game.

 

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