Unsurprisingly, Manchester City started the much brighter team and showed their intentions early on when David Silva’s cross inside the box deflected to Sterling who mishit his shot straight at Kepa. To tell you the truth, it was all Manchester City in the first half, and they had 2 chances through Sane and a flicked header across goal from a corner from Bernardo Silva to take the lead, but they didn’t take any of their chances. Manchester City’s dominance showed as, after 17 minutes, stats showed that Chelsea had no passes in City’s final third, therefore illustrating where most of the game was being played.
Chelsea would have been happy to go in at half-time with a 0-0 draw. That would have felt like a moral victory for them. However, it was even better than that, because right at half-time, Chelsea took a shock 1-0 lead via Kante’s world-class finish into the roof of Ederson’s net after Hazard pulled back a lovely cross for the onrushing Kante to finish superbly.
So going into half-time, Guardiola would have wanted more from his men, because they only had half as many chances in the first half. However, for Sarri and Chelsea, they would want a repeat of the first half in terms of their defensive performance. However, Sarri had a few concerns at half-time, especially up top where they had no focal point. Did this game call out for Olivier Giroud in the second half? Also, Alonso was being exploited heavily by the likes of Sterling. Did Emerson deserve a chance to replace an out of form Alonso, by Sarri’s admission?
Surprisingly, it was a role reversal in the second half due to the fact that Chelsea started the much brighter team. They had a good chance to go up 2-0 as well in the 48th minute when Willian’s free-kick was well saved by Ederson.
However, even though there were not alot of chances in the second half, the key difference between both halves were that Chelsea dominated possession unlike the first half and completely controlled the game in the second half. And they got their rewards for that in the 78th minute when a corner from the left side found the head of David Luiz who looped his header into the top right corner past a rooted Ederson! That was Luiz’s 1st goal of the season, and more importantly, it lead to Chelsea being 2-0 up against the champions who had gone unbeaten all season prior to this point.
After that goal, the tempo of the game slowed down, and Chelsea did have a good chance to make it 3-0 but Barkley’s header glided wide of Ederson’s goal.
Kepa was heading for his 8th clean sheet of the season, but nearly ruined it in the last minute when his misplaced pass went straight to Jesus, but he redeemed himself when he produced a world class save to deny Jesus a late goal to get City back in the game late on.
But Chelsea held out and have really blown the title and top 4 race wide open! Liverpool are now top of the table due to Chelsea doing them a favour!
Player and Manager Ratings
Chelsea (4-3-3 false 9)
Kepa- 7 (Solid performance other than his mistake in the last minute, but he redeemed himself with that save from Jesus)
Alonso- 5 (Average. Was getting exploited by Sterling)
(MOTM) Luiz- 10 (Outstanding performance! Like the mirror image of the Liverpool game. And the second goal topped off his wonderful performance)
Rüdiger- 8 (Brilliant defensive performance with David Luiz to keep Manchester City out)
Azpilicueta- 8 (His game of the season. Defensively solid)
Jorginho- 7 (Good game for him today. Controlled Chelsea’s midfield)
Kovacic- 8 (Played very well until he got injured)
Kante- 9 (Excellent defensively and in the attacking sense today. His goal topped it off)
Pedro- 8 (Linked up very well with Hazard and Willian especially in the second half)
Willian- 8 (Linked up very well with Pedro and Hazard in the second half)
Hazard- 7 (Was so much better in the second half)
Barkley- 7 (Came on and made a positive impact)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Came on and made a positive impact)
Giroud- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to make an impact)
Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 9- Got his plan spot on tonight playing a false 9.
Manchester City (4-3-3 false 9)
Ederson- 6 (Couldn’t do anything about the goals)
Walker- 7 (Played well overall)
Laporte- 6 (Was solid for most part of the game)
Delph- 5 (Was caught out defensively in the second half)
Bernardo Silva- 5 (Didn’t create enough in the midfield)
Fernandinho- 6 (Average)
David Silva- 8 (Was a positive influence in the first half. Just a blow with his injury in the second half)
Mahrez- 6 (Didn’t create enough)
Sterling- 7 (One of City’s best players. Caused multiple problems for Alonso)
Sané- 8 (Was City’s best player in the first half. Surprised he was taken off over Mahrez)
Jesus- 6 (Had one good chance but didn’t impact the game in a positive way)
Gündoğan- 6 (Didn’t do alot when he came on)
Foden- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to impact the game)
Manager Rating: Pep Guardiola- 7- Didn’t do much wrong. Picked the right side considering some of his best players were injured, just beaten by the better side today.
Check out my Match Report and also check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s post-match analysis podcast from this game on Sportstalkline.com
By Danyal Khan