5 things we learned from Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City
Chelsea ended City’s unbeaten start.
Manchester City’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season ended after they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.
N’Golo Kante emphatically opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge before David Luiz headed home a second.
Here, Press Association Sport highlights five things we learned from Saturday’s clash.
City are not invincible
Pep Guardiola’s champions have maintained the fine form which saw them waltz to the title last season in the early months of this campaign. But, despite dominating possession in west London, Chelsea proved they can be beaten. The defeat – City’s first Premier League loss since April – leaves them a point behind title rivals Liverpool.
Hazard is versatile
Much was made of both managers opting to start without recognised strikers, particularly Maurizio Sarri’s decision to pick Eden Hazard as a ‘false nine’. After being starved of the ball in the first half, Belgium forward Hazard – who also operated in the role against City in March – showed his class in the crucial moments of the match by creating both goals.
Injury issues mounting for City
City were without key players Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero at Stamford Bridge and manager Guardiola may have further injury concerns to contend with. With the busy festive period approaching, midfielder Fernandinho required treatment in the first half before the influential David Silva limped off with an apparent hamstring issue in the second half.
Potency beats possession
15. Just lacking a little cutting edge at present but you sense a goal is coming for us. We're pressing and pushing Chelsea back every time they have possession! 💪— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 8, 2018
🔵 0-0 💙 #CHEMCI #mancity pic.twitter.com/Wng10y0vz6
For all of their possession and pressing in attacking areas, City were guilty of creating little. Chelsea would have been grateful to go in goalless at half-time but Kante gave them an undeserved lead from which City could not recover. While the visitors had a handful of decent openings, they failed to register a meaningful attempt on goal until a Gabriel Jesus effort in injury time.
Chelsea unlikely to mount title challenge
Despite this victory, it appears unlikely that the Blues can sustain a serious title challenge. They struggled to touch the ball in the opening period and rode their luck in securing an unexpected victory. Their spirit and second-half performance will provide Sarri with plenty of positives but City and Liverpool remain the standout sides.