Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City: Jesus nets winner as Guardiola gets the better of Tuchel

SoccerNews in English Premier League 25 Sep 2021

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Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to move level on points with their Premier League title rivals.

City lost three times to Chelsea in the space of six weeks at the end of last season, including in the Champions League final, but Pep Guardiola finally got the better of Thomas Tuchel in Saturday’s contest.

After dominating the first half without managing to test returning Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, the visitors opened the scoring eight minutes after the restart through a heavily deflected Jesus shot.

That sparked the game into life as City missed two big chances and Romelu Lukaku had a goal ruled out, though Jesus’ strike proved to be the difference as top-flight champions City inflicted a first defeat of the season on European champions Chelsea.

Tuchel shifted from his usual 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 to accommodate Timo Werner and Lukaku up top for the first time and Chelsea struggled to get going.

All City had to show for their dominance of possession in a quiet first half, though, was a sliced Jesus shot at the back post after being found by Phil Foden.

Guardiola’s side picked up from where they left off in the second half and opened the scoring with the game’s first attempt on target.

Joao Cancelo’s long-range effort hit Jesus and the Brazil striker took over with a shot on the turn that flicked off Jorginho on its way past a wrong-footed Mendy.

Mendy pulled off a fine low save to help Jack Grealish’s shot past the post and substitute Thiago Silva blocked Jesus’ drive on the line as City pressed for a second.

Those missed chances almost came back to haunt City when Lukaku tapped the ball into the net at the other end, but Kai Havertz was offside in the build-up and it was ruled out.

Chelsea desperately went in search of a leveller, yet the best of the remaining opportunities fell to City’s Grealish, the midfielder again denied by Mendy when through on goal.

What does it mean? Guardiola outdoes Tuchel

Guardiola has lost more games against Chelsea (eight) than he has against any other opponents in his managerial career, including all three meetings since Tuchel took charge in January.

The Catalan coach was accused of overthinking his team selection in May’s Champions League final, but it was Tuchel who sprung a surprise here with his choice of formation.

Chelsea were camped inside their own half up until Jesus’ opener and, while they did improve after that, City were deserved winners as they made it back-to-back away top-flight victories at Stamford Bridge for the first time since January 1955.

Gift of the Gab

Jesus has impressed for City in a right-sided position this season with three goals and three assists, while going further back he has been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven Premier League starts.

The outcome of this contest should never have been in doubt from the moment the Brazilian found the back of the net as City have never lost a league game in which he has scored, a run now spanning 44 matches.

Lukaku kept quiet

Tuchel’s decision to pair Lukaku with Werner did not pay off as the Belgium international had his quietest game since returning to Stamford Bridge.

He managed just 21 touches in total, four of those in the opposition box, and failed to get a single shot away for the first time in six starts this term. For context, he fired in eight shots against Arsenal last month.

What’s next?

City have two more huge matches to come over the next week as they follow up a trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday with a visit to Liverpool in the Premier League.

Chelsea host Southampton on their return to top-flight action next weekend, but first is a European clash with Juventus in Turin on Wednesday.

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