Manchester City went to the top of the table by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with a brilliant goal of Kevin De Bruyne. The match was clearly dominated by Manchester City and the margin could have been bigger easily. Chelsea players were seemed to be tired after the away game against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday whereas City players seemed to be more charged up throughout the whole match.
Antonio Conte fielded the team with a 3-5-2 formation. Thibaut Courtois started at Goal as usual. Cahill, Christensen and Rudiger were in the heart of the defense for Chelsea. Azpilicueta and Alonso were the two wingbacks to start against Manchester City. Fabregas, Bakayoko and Kante all started in the central midfield position while Hazard and Morata were leading Chelsea from the upfront.
Pep preferred a to play with a 4-3-3 formation against Chelsea in Stamford Bridge. Ederson Moares was at the Manchester City’s Goal. Stones and Otamendi paired up in the central defense. Delph and Walker had started as two side backs. Fernandinho, David Siva and De Bruyne were playing deep in the midfield to supply the ball to Sterling, Sane and Jesus in the upfront.
The first half was exciting in every aspect. Chelsea started the match in their own style. Kante provided a beautiful cross to Alvaro Morata but his header passed the Goal by few inches. But with time Manchester City got back in the game. Sterling’s moves were causing problem in the Chelsea defense. But again Chelsea got a chance when Kante got a beautiful pass from Hazard but the final pass was intercepted by the Manchester City defenders. The biggest event happened in the first half happened in the 35th minute when Morata had to be subbed off due to a hamstring muscle injury. Willian came in place of him and Hazard was unleashed to play at the false nine position. City got a brilliant chance to take the lead at the end of the first half but De Bruyne’s header was denied by Thibaut Courtois with great reflex. The first half ended with a 0-0 scoreline and Pep Guardiola seemed to be happier than Antonio Conte at the end of the first half.
At the second half the managers had sorted out their strategies. The game was physical throughout and Fernandinho was shown yellow card by the referee due to consistent fouling. City’s attacks were pouring in the Chelsea defense. Chelsea players were defending well but they were playing too much deep. Alvaro Morata’s absence in the upfront was clearly visible. Hazard was not getting any support from Willian. At the 68th minute Manchester City got the all important goal from a brilliant left footed shot of Kevin De Bruyne. Conte was obliged to make two changes in the game.
Batshuayi and Pedro came in place of Bakayoko and Hazard respectively. Gundogan and Bernardo Silva came for City in place of Sane and David Silva. City got many chances whenever they were active in the counter attack.But both the teams were not able to get another goal in the match. De Bruyne got a standing ovation from the crowd of Stamford Bridge when he was subbed off at the very last minute of the match. The game had ended with a victory for City with a scoreline of 1-0 for them.
The match had proved various things. Chelsea’s squad depth were under real doubt after Morata’s exclusion. Batshuayi is still not ready for this kind of pressure games and Willian’s form is getting poorer day by day. Those things will surely be a huge concern for Antonio Conte. The International break seems to have appeared at the right moment for Chelsea as they have to sort out their problems in the coming days.
City’s squad depth is unquestionable as they looked brilliant without their main striker Sergio Aguero. Sterling, Sane, Jesus,Silva,De Bruyne never gave them the feeling that they were missing him which is a good sign for Pep Guardiola. They’re now at the top of the table with 19 points in their 7 matches so far and got the edge over the other teams from the early part of the season. Chelsea slipped at the 4th position with 13 points in their 7 encounters so far. They will surely try to pull things back in their favour after the International break.
Villain of the match – William