The Sunday Night Takeaway: As Chelsea find answers, Mourinho has more questions about Man United

Meanwhile, Manchester City aren't back in their early season stride yet

BY Raf Diallo 18:38 Sunday 23 October 2016, 18:38 23 Oct 2016

Manchester United’s team manager Jose Mourinho, left, and Chelsea’s team manager Antonio Conte meet prior to the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

This Sunday was all about arguably two of the most high profile managers in the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola was looking to right the Manchester City ship against a tough Southampton side, while the headlines were dominated by Jose Mourinho as he made his return to familiar ground at Stamford Bridge - but this time in charge of Manchester United rather than Chelsea.

Questions for Mourinho as Conte finds answers

Man United's 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Monday was seen as evidence that the team was now playing to Jose Mourinho's reactive tune.

His ability to grind out a result is well-known but a gameplan like that is easy to tear apart if you score an early goal because it forces reactive teams to come out of their hardened shells.

That's what Chelsea discovered as they hammered Man United at Stamford Bridge by a 4-0 scoreline.

Who knows if United could have ground something out if they had survived the early storm.

But it's not a game of ifs, buts or maybes and the game in London was a story of two sides at different points of their developments.

Antonio Conte has began putting his stamp on the team at Chelsea, setting up with a 3-4-3 that is beginning to bear fruit.

Since losing 3-0 to Arsenal on September 24th, a shift to Conte's favoured back three has reaped dividends with nine goals scored without reply over three fixtures.

And this 4-0 win has been their most commanding with Eden Hazard looking lively again in a formation that does not require much tracking back because of the presence of a left-wing-back in the shape of Marcos Alonso.

With David Luiz in the defence, the back-three means that he is not as exposed or does not expose his fellow defenders.

So at least for Conte, there are some answers he can point to. But for Mourinho... every week leads to more questions to ponder.

He has dealt with the Wayne Rooney issue, but there are other weaknesses in the side, including in defence, full-back, central midfield and even Zlatan Ibrahimovic having a slight downturn in form.

In short, you could almost say there are question marks in at least half the positions on the team.

One adverse result won't cause Mourinho to panic but it is further evidence of the work that needs to be done on the training ground as well as the personnel changes that will have to be made to fit into the plans the manager has.

Man City still in the midst of teething problems

Man United's city rivals are in the middle of a run without victories but are not in quite the predicament that the red side of Manchester finds itself in.

While the likes of Paul Scholes have questioned whether United possess an identity, City clearly have one because words like philosophy and identity tend to fit snugly into narratives about Pep Guardiola.

On Thursday, John Giles gave his take on the risk-taking City indulge in on the ball when in possession at the back after the 4-0 loss to Barcelona.

"I always believed in playing out from the back but do it in a sensible way and I don't think it was done in a sensible way from Manchester City's point of view. I think it's too risky," John told Newstalk.

Some of that was in evidence against Southampton in their 1-1 draw on Sunday.

This time it was John Stones who was sloppy in possession to allow Nathan Redmond to score and as Guardiola put it in dry terms post-match that his defenders giving the ball to opposition forwards wasn't part of the plan.

They are still top despite the fact that the players are still learning his complex methods however and that will encourage the manager, assuming the rather underwhelming run of results doesn't continue for much longer.

And while the Premier League might not be as high quality as many of its cheerleaders pronounce, it is far more competitive than when he was in charge of Barcelona or Bayern Munich where the financial gulf between those clubs and many of their domestic rivals is vast.

Southampton have found their groove and are an impressive mid-tier side which means it is not a forgiving environment for a City side in the early parts of a Pep project.

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