Nobody had quite expected a Chelsea side who had just been beaten by Wolves to be a match for the reigning Champions.
However, Chelsea’s resolute defending and refusal to sit back and allow City to just attack them, left them walking away 2-0 victors.
At the end of the game, Pep stood bemused on the touch line. How was that even possible?
City were expected to turn up and win. Sarri of course had other ideas, but had planted that seed in Guardiola’s head.
During his pre-match press conference, Sarri was asked how do you beat a Guardiola team?
Sarri, in his friendly, jovial style, replied “I haven’t beaten him before, ask somebody else”
It was something that has pretty much disappeared from today’s game, managerial mind games.
Sir Alex was the greatest, he continually got under his rivals skin without ever appearing to throw the first punches.
Of course once his rivals had bitten, he knew he had them, and all his team had to do was reel them in.
It happened with Keegan, it happened with Wenger, it happened with Benitez and almost happened with Dalglish.
The infamous Keegan “I’d love it if we beat them” has gone down in Premier League folklore.
While we were all silently pleased with Benitez’s bizarre “facts” press conference, which saw Liverpool throw away the Premier League.
When Jose Mourinho arrived at Chelsea, he immediately lay down the marker for his rivals.
I am the European Champion.
This wasn’t a guy to be messed with, and messed with he wasn’t.
Even Ferguson didn’t try, he knew he needed to focus on getting his team to the level that Abramovich’s billions had catapulted Chelsea.
Now, only Mourinho remains of the old guard amongst the Premier League’s elite.
He still tries to engage in combat, only this weekend did he take a swipe at Liverpool, declaring they’ve won nothing (factually correct) despite being lauded as the best Liverpool side of the Premier League era.
The difference now, is that his rivals won’t respond.
Guardiola, Sarri, Pochettino, Klopp and Emery are all far too friendly and respectful of each other’s work.
Speaking before the start of the season, Guardiola spoke of his admiration for his new rival Sarri.
“First of all I’m happy that a manager of that level is in the Premier League. I’m going to learn a lot to see him every weekend,”
“We are going to improve a lot because of his ideas here in England.”
That’s a stark difference from when Arsene Wenger first arrived in the Premier League and encountered Ferguson.
“Arsene Wenger has been in Japan. He doesn’t know anything about English football and the demands of our game.” Said Ferguson first sparking a long standing feud.
The pair came to have a great mutual respect as they both retired after spending over 20 years at their respected clubs.
Maybe because managers aren’t staying at football clubs for that long there’s no need to start these feuds.
They have to focus on getting a quick turnaround and getting results or they’re sacked.
However as Sarri has proved, it might still be worth using press conferences and some simple word play to make some differences on the pitch.