Chelsea had to right the wrongs from last week’s performance away at Man United but made things worse with an abysmal showing where they were very lucky to come away with a 1-0 loss against Manchester City. Bernardo Silva’s first-half goal was the difference at the Etihad as the Blues were brushed aside by another textbook Pep Guardiola masterclass.
Parking the Bus
It was clear that Antonio Conte’s side weren’t going to be doing all the attacking as he once again opted to go without a recognised striker and the game didn’t start well. The pressure began from minute one and despite keeping the hosts at bay, Chelsea seemed as though they could crumble at any point.
David Silva and Kyle Walker tested the visitors’ goal before Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero had shots blocked as Cesar Azpilicueta single-handedly kept the scores level. The Spanish defender brilliantly cleared a strong Sane effort off the line after it had beaten Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea had a penalty appeal waved away with Nicolas Otamendi pushing Willian over in the box, it would’ve been the second time the Argentine had conceded a penalty in as many matches. The first-half came to an end with the champions firmly under the cosh and the champions-elect dominating proceedings.
City Ease to Victory
After 45 minutes of resisting waves of Man City attacks, Chelsea were undone in less than 60 seconds of second-half action. In similar fashion to the goal conceded against Barcelona, Andreas Christensen made a cynical error. The ball fell to Aguero who played a neat pass into David Silva. He flashed the ball across the six-yard box where Marcos Alonso had no idea of Bernardo Silva’s whereabouts and the Portuguese wideman poked the ball over the diving Courtois.
Despite the single-goal deficit, it was a long way back for Chelsea and they showed no signs of making their way back into the match. More and more City attacks and corners followed and a string of corners put pressure on the Blues rearguard. Willian wasted two rare promising counter-attacks as he failed to find a team-mate with two wayward passes. Then it was Pedro’s turn to do the same with Eden Hazard screaming for a through ball which never came.
The contrast in work rates was clear to see as Guardiola’s well-oiled unit continued to fight and race for every first ball while Conte’s dejected side weren’t even challenging for second balls. The second half was largely a story of Chelsea repeatedly giving the ball away on potentially dangerous counter-attacks, much to the frustration of the travelling fans in the away end.
Alonso had the last opportunity to equalise for the away side but it whistled wide, it would have been very undeserved if it had flown into the bottom corner. On a day where Chelsea failed to register a first-half shot in the Premier League for the first time since Opta started recording stats, they were steamrolled by another top-drawer Man City performance.
The Blues will certainly be struggling to snatch the final top four spot if they continue their current form with that being their fourth successive away defeat. Calls for Antonio Conte’s head are only getting louder.