Chelsea started very brightly, going toe-to-toe with the hosts and matching the defending champions in all respects, and in many respects, actually outplaying them.
The opening goal, from N’Golo Kanté who loves scoring against Manchester-based teams, was nothing less than the Blues’ play deserved. And it looked like Chelsea would even build on that, and were absolutely dominating the game for a solid period.
But a giveaway in midfield gave City a chance to equalize, and De Bruyne cashed in on his luck with a deflected shot. Some individual skill, combined with very poor defending, then saw Mahrez give City the lead. By then, Chelsea were rocking and all over the place, and were lucky to head into halftime down just 2-1. Agüero certainly should’ve scored City’s third when gifted a free shot and a free net by Kepa’s mis-hit goal kick.
The second half was a more even and less flowing affair, with City having the upper hand early, Chelsea creating a few chances around the middle period of the half, but neither team finding the requisite quality to finish off a chance to add to the scoreline. Azpilicueta did have to clear off the line once along the way though, and City had a late goal ruled out for marginal offside by VAR.
Still, at least we didn’t humiliate ourselves and even game them a scare in the first-half!
46.74 - Man City's possession figure of 46.74 today is the lowest recorded by a side managed by Pep Guardiola in any of his 381 top-flight matches in charge. Academic. #MCICHE— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 23, 2019
- Two changes for Chelsea from the last game, with César Azpilicueta coming back in for Reece James, and Jorginho returning from suspension for Mason Mount, making it a three-man midfield for the Blues alongside N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić.
- James right / Azpi left combination making another (belated) appearance early in the second half, with Emerson making way.
- Switch to 4-2-3-1 on 73 minutes, with Jorginho making way for Mount, and Batshuayi replacing Abraham like-for-like.
- Kanté’s third goal of the season.
- On the plus side, Agüero didn’t score against us this time. But De Bruyne did, as he usually does.
- City stay nine points behind leaders Liverpool in the title “race”.
- Chelsea drop to fourth, still at least 7 points ahead of fifth place (currently Wolves, after Arsenal dropped two points at home). Sheffield United play tomorrow and could close that gap to 6 points, if they beat Manchester United.
- Next up: Valencia away on Wednesday, in what’s probably an ever more important game.