Manchester City earned a huge win on Saturday evening as they beat title rivals Chelsea at 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Pep Guardiola’s men dominated on the night but only needed one goal, courtesy of ex-Blues’ midfielder to earn the three points. The Belgian netted a fantastic effort mid-way through the second period to secure top spot for the Citizens in the Premier League.
Early sighter for Morata
Striker Álvaro Morata, who scored Chelsea’s equaliser in the 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening, had the first chance of the game as he headed an N’Golo Kanté cross over the bar. The Frenchman then also played a key role in another great chance for the hosts mid-way through the first half as his touch fell to César Azpilicueta in the box. The defender’s shot towards the bottom corner was palmed away by Ederson in the Manchester City goal.
The Citizens, who were without the injured Sergio Aguero, broke quickly only seconds later but Raheem Sterling was unable to find a pass with David Silva and Jesus free in the box. Thibaut Courtois then got down well to stop a shot from the Spaniard that looked destined for the bottom corner. Although, Guardiola’s men continued to dominate the ball for large swaths of the evening.
Injury problems for Conte
The Blues’ evening got even more difficult only mid-way through the first half as Morata was replaced by Willian. The forward looked as though he had picked up a hamstring injury.
Stopper Courtois produced a wonderful save in the closing stages of the first half to preserve the stalemate. Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho powered a header towards goal from an excellent Kevin De Bruyne corner but the Belgian keeper got two strong hands behind the ball to touch it away.
Quick re-start from City
The visitors re-emerged from the tunnel at Stamford Bridge and enjoyed a comfortable period as they dominated the ball in the Chelsea half of the pitch. Sterling collected a City corner on the edge of the penalty area but his shot flew just over the cross-bar.
Eden Hazard could well have opened the scoring though. The Belgian linked up with Cesc Fàbregas from a free-kick but his low shot was straight at the City goalkeeper. Courtois was not be outdone though as he, and his defence, were put under immense pressure by Guardiola’s men. The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper gathered a De Bruyne shot before Silva hammered a shot towards goal that thundered off of a Chelsea body.
The former though did not have to wait long to net against his former club. Exchanging passes with Gabriel Jesus, the Belgian trotted forwards before hammering home into the top corner from just outside the area.
Champions made to change
Chelsea boss Conte was then forced to react to Manchester City’s deserved opener; Michy Batshuayi and Pedro replaced Eden Hazard and Tiémoué Bakayoko. Despite the changes giving Chelsea far more attacking impetus, the Citizens continued to dominate and could even have doubled their lead in the closing minutes. Sterling crossed to Jesus at the back post and the Brazilian sent a wonderful drive past Courtois. However, Antonio Rüdiger got back well to head off the line.
The Blues continued to huff and puff but did not threaten Ederson in the City goal enough to really get back into the match. As a result, the champions drop to fourth in the Premier League. The Sky Blues meanwhile snatch top spot from local rivals Manchester United.
Chelsea: Courtois (7); Cahill (6), Christensen (6), Rüdiger (5), Alonso (5), Fàbregas (6), Bakayoko (6) (Batshuayi (6), 73′) , Kanté (6), Azpilicueta (7); Hazard (7) (Pedro (5), 72′), Morata (6) (Willian (5), 35′).
Manchester City: Ederson (7); Walker (7), Stones (7), Otamendi (7), Delph (8); Fernandinho (8), Sterling (8), De Bruyne (9), D. Silva (7) (B. Silva (6), 76′), Sané (7) (Gündoğan (6), 84′); Jesus (7).
Goals: De Bruyne (67′)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Yellow Cards: Fernandinho (61′)
Red Cards: N/A
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