Bernardo Silva scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City secured a tight 1-0 victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Portuguese snuck in barely a minute into the second half as he capitalised on poor defending from Marcos Alonso and finished past Thibaut Courtois to edge Pep Guardiola’s men only four wins away from lifting their third Premier League crown.
City dominance continues against former champions
Without the talismanic N’Golo Kanté marshalling the Blues’ midfield, Antonio Conte’s Blues really struggled to get any foothold in the game as City started strongly. Leroy Sané was presented with the first opportunity however scuffed his shot well wide of the Chelsea goal.
The in-form wideman could also have played a key role in a Citizens’ opener minutes later as he cut out a poor back-pass from Cesc Fàbregas and attempted to tee-up Sergio Agüero. The Argentine frontman had his shot well-blocked by a Chelsea body. Bernardo also tried his luck from the right-edge of the penalty area but unlike his shot against Arsenal, the ball sailed just inches over the crossbar.
The Londoners however did threaten on the break on occasions, especially through Willian but they were not quite able to find the net.
Chelsea get fortunate going into the break
City continued to dominate though and the visitors were extremely lucky that they were not heading into the break one-goal behind. Former Blues midfielder Kevin De Bruyne first released Sané with a deep free-kick that the German controlled with a sumptuous first touch. Jinking inside, the former Schalke 04 man struck towards goal and looked to have opened the scoring but a fantastic goal-line clearance from César Azpilicueta kept the scores level.
Only minutes from half-time, Nicolás Otamendi had the ball into the net as he finished from Agüero’s centre. However, the strike was ruled out for offside.
Slick Silva wastes no time in slicing through Chelsea
Despite keeping the league-leaders at bay throughout the first period, it only took 34 seconds of the second-half for Guardiola’s men to beat the Chelsea backline through Bernardo. David Silva did well to earn possession on the right side and put a low cross into the box. The ball broke for the formerand he finished low into the net to notch his sixth goal of the season.
Antonio Conte’s troops were finally shook into action and could have been level as Fàbregas found Victor Moses in space. The Nigerian speedster though lashed the ball well wide from a tight angle.
Aguero could have doubled the lead but was unfortunately inches away from prodding home Sané’s cross.
Changes come for Conte’s Chelsea but City secure win
With Chelsea still having a disappointing impact on the game, Conte elected to introduce January signing Olivier Giroud and they did look marginally better. The Frenchman was joined on the pitch by Emerson and Álvaro Morata but the reigning champions were simply not able to create any clear cut opportunities.
As a result, Manchester City secured their third successive Premier League win and went 18 points clear at the top of the table, albeit potentially temporarily.
Whilst the scoreline could suggest that the match was close and possibly hard-fought, Manchester City much deserved their victory. Opponents Chelsea really struggled to create any chances and severely lacked any meaningful possession. The Citizens defended extremely well and attacked with fluency with the irrepressible Sané leading the charge.
Manchester City will aim to tick off another victory in next Monday’s match against Stoke City. Meanwhile, Chelsea remain in fifth and five points behind Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester City: Ederson (7); Walker (7), Otamendi (8), Zinchenko (6) (Danilo (N/A), 87′); D. Silva (7) (Foden (N/A), 90+3′), Gündoğan (7), De Bruyne (7); Sané (8), Aguero (7) (Jesus (N/A), 85′), B. Silva (8).
Chelsea: Courtois (6), Azpilicueta (7), Christensen (6), Rüdiger (6); Moses (5), Fàbregas (6), Drinkwater (6), Alonso (6); Willian (7) (Giroud (N/A), 78′), Pedro (6) (Emerson (N/A), 82′), Hazard (6) (Morata (N/A), 90′).
Goals: B. Silva (46′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Zinchenko (24′), Gündoğan (47′), Rüdiger (57′)
Red Cards: N/A
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