FT: That’s that. Chelsea record a richly-deserved win here at Stamford Bridge, move within one point of Leicester City and mathematically crown Liverpool Champions.
90+2min: Gilmour’s first involvement is to play a beautiful diagonal to Pedro, who carries the ball to the edge of the area and shoots but Ederson gets a hand to it.
90+1min: Gilmour and Pedro replace Mount and Pulisic respectively.
89min: Kepa calmly collects a Mahrez cross from deep. Billy Gilmour and Pedro are preparing to come on.
85min: Pulisic brings Sterling down at the far edge of the penalty area. Abraham manages to turn Mahrez’s free-kick out for a corner, which amounts to nothing.
82min: Azpilicueta intercepts a long ball played out to Zinchenko, charges forward with Abraham and Willian in the box but his cross evades everyone and goes out for a goal kick.
78min: GOAL GOAL GOAL WILLIAN CONVERTS THE PENALTY! 2-1!
75min: SOMEHOW the ball has yet to cross the line. Willian carries the ball a large distance on the right, on the break and crosses for Abraham who attempts to bundle the ball past the keeper but Fernandinho appears to have blocked this with his hand. VAR finds this to be the case as well and dismisses the midfielder-turned-centre-back. PENALTY to Chelsea.
72min: Mateo Kovacic replaces Ross Barkley, Nicolas Otamendi replaces Aymeric Lapore.
71min: SO SO CLOSE. Christensen’s forward pass misses Abraham but also evades all the City defenders and Pulisic is onrushing yet again. He rounds Ederson and almost has his second of the game but is foiled by a last-ditch clearance off the line by Kyle Walker. Tammy Abraham can’t get the rebound past Walker either. What a shame.
68min: Raheem Sterling gets lovely shape on a curled effort from the edge of the area and it goes just wide before the teams take their second drinks break.
66min: VAR checks for ‘serious foul play’ as Rudiger clears the ball a tad late after having it under control and steps on De Bruyne’s toes in the process. Of course, there’s no offence.
64min: Kante loses possession close to the penalty area but Christensen keeps tight to Jesus and manages to stop his crosses twice.
62min: Tammy Abraham replaces Giroud and within seconds, an errant pass from Ederson is intercepted by Mount although his left-footed finish can only find the side-netting.
58min: Jesus wins a free-kick off Barkley in a similar area from which De Bruyne scored the equaliser. This set-piece routine is more tame, he tries to lob it in behind defence but is unsuccessful.
56min: Azpilicueta sends Mount all the way to the byline with a through-ball but his cutback is deflected for a corner. City break with mind-bending speed from the corner with quickfire one-touch passing, Sterling finds himself 1v1 with Kepa but is denied by the upright. Phew!
54min: De Bruyne equalises from the free-kick. Kepa didn’t have much of a chance saving that. 1-1.
53min: Mahrez wins another free-kick centrally. Incidentally it’s Kante who’s felled him once more but a lot closer to the penalty area. Before the free-kick is taken, Jesus and Silva replace Bernardo and Rodri respectively.
53min: Mendy takes a wild swing from a similar sequence of play as before, it’s too high and too wide.
49min: Play resumes, Christensen continues playing.
47min: Mendy unleashes a shot that Christensen’s head gets in the way of. The centre-back is receiving treatment after feeling the full force of it.
46min: City have us underway.
HT: We’ve made it to half-time. Chelsea have been clear about hitting City on the break with heavy emphasis on switches of play and it’s worked so far. Pulisic has been a superstar in attack with Mount contributing heavily in pressing (as always), Giroud with neat hold-up play and centre-backs playing decently out of the back. Bring on the second half!
42min: Sterling to Mendy through-ball results in a very dangerous-looking cutback which manages to make its way all the way to Walker. His cross is cut out by Mount.
38min: Alonso is booked after bringing Mahrez down at the edge of the area. De Bruyne rolls the following free-kick to Mahrez who tries to fire one into the top corner but it’s too high.
35min: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL CHELSEA IT’S CHRISTIAN PULISIC! WOW! A De Bruyne free-kick is quickly cleared and Pulisic capitalises on a mix-up between Gundogan and Mendy, carries the ball all the way from the half-line to the City penalty area (making Mendy look stupid in the process) and slots ever so calmly past Ederson into the bottom-right corner. 1-0!
32min: What a frenetic sequence! Willian releases Barkley with a through-ball on the left, his low cross is almost bundled in by an onrushing Pulisic. Alonso receives on the left and crosses again, a quick one-two between Mount and Giroud followed by a cross back to Barkley sees Chelsea come close again. Andreas Christensen forces a save from Ederson from the following corner,
31min: Chelsea’s turn to recycle possession at the back and invite the City press before Christensen’s vertical pass and good hold-up from Giroud helps Mount carry the ball between the lines. Unfortunately his follow-up through-ball to Pulisic is way off the mark.
30min: Sweet bit of defending from Christensen, who manages to body Sterling off the ball very close to goal.
27min: A switch of play to Marcos Alonso results in a low cross that ricochets out to Barkley. His attempt from an acute angle is deflected for a corner. Chelsea’s first shot.
23min: Kante clips his old teammate, Riyad Mahrez in a crucial central channel as the attacker was looking to take both him and Barkley out of the game with a dribble. We’ve now reached the first drinks break of the game. It’s been all Manchester City.
21min: After a sustained spell of possession but no breakthrough, Rodri tries his luck from distance. His shot is blocked from very close-range.
17min: First free-kick of the game goes City’s way, Azpilicueta is reprimanded for a challenge on Gundogan near the right-sided touchline. Riyad Mahrez’s near-post delivery is subsequently met by a curiously unmarked Fernandinho but Kepa saves comfortably.
15min: Shaky distribution from Kepa, as a chipped attempt towards Alonso ends up hitting the head of Bernardo Silva instead. Bernardo attempts to knock the ball past Kepa from within the penalty area and luckily cannot.
13min: Pulisic and Giroud have a quick interchange in the center of the pitch following a goal-kick, freeing up space on the right to release Willian into. The right-winger fizzes a low one past most players in the penalty area. The best attacking play from Chelsea.. or the only one, rather, has come 13 minutes into this match.
12min: A quick switch of play from right to left sees Sterling lay the ball off for the overlapping Mendy first-time, thankfully his cross is ineffectual once more.
9min: Mendy’s second cross from the same region in as many minutes is a powerful, low cross this time around but Kepa clears with an outstretched left foot.
7min: Chelsea struggling to sustain possession. Pulisic tries to progress inwards via carrying but City win back possession and it’s back to the left flank rapidly with Mendy’s cross hit wayward.
6min: Lovely weighted pass by Rodri finds De Bruyne in space on the left wing. His cross manages to find Bernardo who scuffs his shot.
5min: City controlling possession and Chelsea happy to try and win it back, then attack on the break. Sterling slips a pass through to Gundogan in the penalty area but his cross is intercepted and out for a corner.
3min: Christensen intercepts from a Man City throw-in and tries to make a mazy run into the penalty area. He’s shrugged off the ball by De Bruyne, who can’t make much of the recovery.
0min: Olivier Giroud kicks the game off.
Chelsea are back at Stamford Bridge, although - if the season prior to this is anything to go by - hopefully Chelsea’s home ‘advantage’ will be fortunately nullified by the absence of supporters in the stadium
Chelsea could indirectly seal the Premier League title for winners-elect for the second time in five years by at least holding Manchester City today and consequently ending Liverpool’s thirty years of hurt. It’s nothing more than a formality this time around, though. One must wonder how much Pep Guardiola’s side actually have to play for today, though, with pole position (almost) out of sight and all to play for in the Champions League.
Two changes from Lampard today, Loftus-Cheek and Kovacic drop out for Pulisic and Barkley respectively. Olivier Giroud retains his starting spot after netting versus Aston Villa. Manchester City are slightly less simple to figure out today, Sterling appears to be starting up front with Gundogan and Rodri in midfield.
Here we go!
Chelsea starting lineup (4-3-3):
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta (c) | Mount, Kanté, Barkley | Pulisic, Giroud, Willian
Substitutes from: Caballero, James, Zouma, Gilmour, Kovacic, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Abraham, Jorginho
Manchester City starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Ederson | Mendy, Laporte, Fernandinho (c), Walker| Gundogan, Rodri | Mahrez, De Bruyne, Bernardo | Sterling
Substitutes from: Carson, Jesus, Zinchenko, Sane, Silva, Otamendi, Doyle, Harwood-Bellis, Palmer
Date / Time: Thursday, June 25, 2020, 20.15 BST; 3:15pm EDT; 12:45am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referees: Stuart Attwell (on pitch); Craig Pawson (VAR)
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); fuboTV, NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!