Chelsea’s primary purpose was to avoid embarrassment, and we managed to do that, certainly in the first half. The second half, well that was not nearly as close as the scoreline would suggest.
But in the first, Chelsea went toe-to-toe with the defending champions, and we might have even had the better of play, were the more enterprising side, and showed some good enough quality in certain spots to give us hope of better days ahead. If only that Carney Chukwuemeka shot had gone in instead of hitting the post and bouncing out!
But it’s tough to be too optimistic when players keep dropping like flies — Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic both picked up injuries in this game, while Mason Mount was ruled out just prior to it with an unspecified injury as well — and Chelsea keep being unable to stay consistent across halves, let alone between games.
The last two times we’ve played City, we followed a scoreless first-half by conceding an inevitable second-half winning goal, and that’s again what played out today.
City came out with much more purpose, intention, cohesion, and quality after the break, and while it took them a bit still, they would eventually find their winner. Substitutes Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish combined, the latter setting up the former just past the hour-mark.
City then took their foot off the gas and simply kept Chelsea at arm’s length to see the game out. Thiago Silva had come close to scoring from a set piece earlier in the second half, and that would be the closest we’d come in the end as well.
- Two changes from the weekend, with Kovačić replacing Jorginho and Ziyech replacing the injured Mount.
- Auba for Sterling; Chukwuemeka for Pulisic in the injury-enforced subs in the first-half.
- Like-for-like changes halfway through the second half, with Hutchinson, Hall, Gallagher on for Auba, Cucu, and Ziyech. Senior debut for Hutchinson.
- 6 points from our last 8 games. Entrenched in 10th now.
- Next up: Man City again, this time at the Etihad, Sunday in the FA Cup