Manchester City’s Premier League unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Chelsea on Saturday afternoon as the Blues ran out 2-0 winners.
N’Golo Kante and David Luiz scored either side of half time as Maurizio Sarri’s side got back to winning ways following their 2-1 loss against Wolves in midweek.
Eden Hazard started the game in the False Nine role as his boss opted to play without a recognised striker against the side he called “the best team in Europe” before the match.
It looked as though Pep Guardiola’s well-oiled machine would pick up yet another win as they dominated the opening exchanges but they were wasteful with their chances. Raheem Sterling was the man that failed to take a couple of very decent opportunities inside 15 minutes as Leroy Sane also failed to squeeze the ball past Kepa from a tight angle.
Chelsea might have been under the cosh in and out of possession but their last-ditch defending was extremely resolute as Cesar Azpilicueta was on-hand to deflect Sane’s goalbound shot over the crossbar. But just as the home side looked most likely to concede, they hit Man City with a sucker punch.
Willian was forced wide of the goal by Pedro’s searching pass but still found Hazard who had joined him the Citizens’ penalty area. After holding onto the ball for a few seconds, the winger pulled it back to the edge of the box where N’Golo Kante was stood to fire beyond Ederson and into the roof of the net. The hosts couldn’t have been luckier to go into the break with the lead but it built a brilliant platform for a strong second half.
Following 45 minutes where they were pinned in their own 18-yard box, Chelsea came out after the interval and dominated the champions. Willian was presented with a great chance to double his side’s lead but his effort lacked conviction before Kyle Walker’s free-kick forced a diving save from Kepa.
With a little over 10 minutes left of the contest, David Luiz netted his first goal of the season to seal all three points as the Blues won a controversial corner and made the most of it. Hazard aimed his cross towards the front post and Luiz was there to glance it over Ederson and into the back of the net, sending the home fans into pandemonium.
From there, City’s only chance to get a goal came through Gabriel Jesus who benefitted from Kepa’s lapse in concentration but the Spanish stopper redeemed himself by pushing his effort round the post. Despite looking as though they would be comfortably beaten, the home side hit the front in the second period and built brilliantly on the first goal to secure arguably their three biggest points of the campaign.
They travel to Hungary in their next match, facing Vidi in their final Europa League group match before the Premier League fixtures ramp up, starting with a trip to Brighton next Sunday.