Sunday 25 March 2018

Five things we learned from Man City's rout of champions Chelsea

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game
Manchester City's Vincent Kompany celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game

Chris Bascombe

It was a sobering defeat for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as Manchester City move top of the table with impressive start to the campaign

Chelsea must rediscover the hunger that made them champions

There is a complacency bug plaguing title winners. Manchester City had it in 2012-13 and then again in 2014-15. They may have passed it to Chelsea this season. While the warning about making early judgements is valid, Jose Mourinho’s side looked like Premier League winners in waiting within a few weeks of last season.

They were well off the pace from the first whistle here, while City have shrugged off the limpness of a year ago to make their intentions clear for the next eight months. Pellegrini’s side will take some stopping on this evidence.

David Silva will be Player of the Year

Don’t bother taking bets, or even organising a vote this season. If David Silva stays fit, the honour is his. When citing his many reasons for joining City, Raheem Sterling missed the obvious.

“I want to play with Silva,” would have sufficed. No-one would have mentioned the silver. With Silva, Sergio Aguero and Sterling, City have a Lilliputian army upfront. Watching them surround Nemanja Matic put one in mind of Gulliver struggling to contain the pests nibbling at his toes.

John Stones’ value is soaring by the week

Jefferson Montero’s shadow one week, Raheem Sterling the next… Branislav Ivanovic might fancy another holiday after the chasing he’s been given in the last fortnight. If John Stones wasn’t an immediate addition at centre-half, he’d slot in at full-back until the senior defenders regained form.

The half-time substitution of John Terry demonstrated the need for another option, while Gary Cahill also struggled again. Chelsea will return for Stones, but Everton might add another £25 million to the asking price.

Chelsea's Diego Costa and Gary Cahill look dejected at full time

Chelsea may never be the same without Eva

Chelsea’s newly installed physiotherapy team of Steven Hughes (physio) and Chris Hughes (doctor) will never feel so popular. They were granted a standing ovation from the City fans as they were ushered on – presumably with their manager’s consent – to treat Gary Cahill in the 43rd minute.

This was followed by a chant of ‘Eva’ and ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’. Eva Carneiro has been martyred by rival fans. When Diego Costa needed treatment a minute later, with Cahill still treated off the pitch, Chelsea were short of physiotherapists… the irony of it all.

Abramovich may need to call in a few of his loans…

It should be a busy few weeks for the friends of Roman Abramovich. It is clear Chelsea need players to create a new vibe, and the obvious solution if Everton continue to resist bids for Stones is to make the annual call to Atletico Madrid or Benfica to establish out what bargains are to be found this season.

Alternatively, why not call back one of the 20 players they’ve sent on loan? Surely one of them can come back and freshen up the squad?

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