Back at Stamford Bridge but without a home crowd, Chelsea faced Manchester City in hopes to beat the defending Premier League champions to advance our quest for a Champions League berth next season — even if that meant giving the (somewhat inevitable) competition’s title to Liverpool in the process by stopping City from winning.
And the visitors were defeated. With goals from Christian Pulisic and Willian, the Blues overcame Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick equaliser to take the three points from the encounter at the Bridge with a 2-1 scoreline in our favour.
The first few minutes were not easy, but manageable with City pushing us against our own half. Kepa did have to make interventions out of a play by Bernardo Silva (created by a mistake from the goalkeeper himself), and then a header from Fernandinho that threatened our goal.
The chances we got were good, though. It was a similar playbook to the few losses Manchester City suffer from time to time under Pep Guardiola’s reign, in which they dominate possession while the other side makes the most with what they get.
And just like that, Pulisic scores in a chance that was likely better than all shots by City combined up until minute 36 of the game. A gift by both Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy that he simply could not waste.
Too bad that the “immutable law of the ex” would soon hit us. What can only be described as a world-class free-kick by former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne gave City the equaliser in the second half, as City returned from halftime in their usual possession-hungry self.
Pulisic almost scored a second in yet another defensive mistake from City, this time from goalkeeper Ederson. Luckily for them, Kyle Walker was fast enough to match the pace of the play and make a goal line clearance.
Chelsea’s flurry of attacks would continue. On one of them midfielder Fernandinho clearly intervened with his hand to stop Chelsea from scoring yet again, getting himself a red card and giving the Blues a penalty spotkick. Willian took it high and converted — 2-1 for the good guys.
- N’Golo Kanté’s “experiment” as our deepest midfielder continues, with Ross Barkley in front of him instead of Mateo Kovacic. The attacking line sees Christian Pulisic getting his first start since our 1-1 draw to Brighton on January 1st, replacing fellow injury returnee Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
- Olivier Giroud starts again. What is going on, Tammy?
- Substitutes are Tammy Abraham for Giroud, Kovacic for Barkley, Pedro for Mount and Billy Gilmour for Pulisic.
- These TV sounds will never replace the ambience of Stamford Bridge filled with Chelsea supporters. And that is a fact.
- Next up: Leicester City at King Power Stadium for the FA Cup quarterfinal.