It was City vs. Practice Squad City for most of the match, certainly almost the entire first half, but Chelsea had a period of about 15 minutes — 5 at the end of the first half and the first 10 in the second half — when they played with the confidence and belief seen from the visitors.
That was enough to score the opening goal, and Chelsea really should’ve had a couple more (Pedro, Willian) after Hazard and Kanté continued to run City, but it wouldn’t be a Chelsea match without a fair few wasted chances.
But, surprisingly, City couldn’t build on their period of dominance, and after the hour-mark, it became a fairly even contest. Chelsea eventually grabbed a second goal off of a set piece — we scored a corner goal! — and that was the difference. That certainly undersells the heroic effort, concentration, and determination from the Blues, especially in the second half.
What a day. What a win!
- For the first time under Sarri, Chelsea start without a recognized center forward. Sarri tried this briefly against Spurs a couple weekends ago, but this time it was the plan from the start. Hazard was often isolated against City (as would’ve been any center forward), but when he did get the ball, there was promise.
- Barkley for Kovačić (who appeared to pick up a knock), RLC for Willian (trust in the youth!), and Giroud for Hazard (defensive change for added-on time) the three subs from Sarri
- Chelsea back in third, for now, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference! Spurs play next. City drop to second with Liverpool top.
- Next up: Vidi FC away in the Europa League in a match that is little more than a training exercise.
- One step beyoooooooond