Derbies tend to be cagey matches. Chelsea vs. Manchester City, a “preview” of the Champions League final on the Premier League stage, would follow a similar pattern.
Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen almost gifted Ferran Torres a goal in the first minutes of the game, and Rodrigo almost had a chance to score almost 15 minutes later. But the Blues had the better part of chances in the first half up until the 43rd minute, including a Timo Werner goal called offside.
The lead however would be gained by the hosts right at the end of the first half. Christensen whiffed his attempt at clearing the ball away from Sergio Agüero, which ended setting the striker up for a good chance at the goal instead. But with Edouard Mendy closing the angle on a potential shot, the veteran striker assisted Raheem Sterling on his left side instead.
Christensen was injured during the play, and he had to be taken off for Kurt Zouma. In the midst of this, City earned a rather soft penalty chance after a foul by Billy Gilmour on Gabriel Jesus.
This time Agüero showed his striker instincts by stepping up to the spot and taking the penalty. But the 32-year-old showed the attitude of a youngster by trying a Panenka against Mendy. The goalkeeper had already made the initial jump, but was quick to notice how slow the ball was coming to the centre of the goal. So he answered petulance with petulance, making a one-handed defence against the ridiculous attempt at goal from the Argentinian centre-forward.
Confirming the win against Chelsea would confirm Manchester City as champions, and thus they would try to keep it that way. But they could not count on the Blues pushing for a goal of their own, with Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic coming close to it in the first 15 minutes of the second part of the match.
Our score would come thanks to Rodrigo, trying to walk his way into our half. César Azpilicueta and Hakim Ziyech pressed the midfielder, and he gave it away without much resistance. Then it was all a matter of keeping the ball in the final third until the final touch by Ziyech, a shot from the half-circle to tie the scoreline for Chelsea.
The Blues would keep pushing ahead, and they scored with Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who entered the pitch as a substitute to Ziyech. But both were deemed offside by centimetres.
Gladly the final score of the day would not be lost to the offside rule. In the last attack of the game, Marcos Alonso would be the hero we need to beat City and at the very least delay their league title for a few days.
- Several chances taking place from the starting lineup against Real Madrid earlier this week in the Champions League. César Azpilicueta returns to centre-back, with Thiago Silva being rested. Reece James slots in as right wingback, and Marcos Alonso takes the opposite flank in place of Ben Chilwell. In midfield, Jorginho is replaced by Billy Gilmour, while Mason Mount and Kai Havertz give way to Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
- Subs are Kurt Zouma for Andreas Christensen, Jorginho for N’Golo Kanté and Callum Hudson-Odoi for Hakim Ziyech.
- Before the first half “implosion”, Chelsea were clearly the better side in the affair. Thank the heavens they kept pushing in the second half!
- Many will point to Agüero’s failed Panenka as the deciding factor today. And maybe they are right. Still, this Chelsea lineup without many of their starters against a Manchester City intent on securing the PL title today, managed to beat the probable league champions at their own turf.
- Can we have this Hakim Ziyech on a regular basis from next summer on?
- Next up: Arsenal at the Emirates for the Premier League.