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Five Things We Learned: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea (Premier League)

Pep Guardiola's men extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to a staggering thirteen points with a dominant 1-0 win over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

A Kevin De Bruyne special was enough to be the difference between Manchester City and Chelsea as the Premier League champions capped off their league double over the visitors in style.

An incredibly dominant display almost looked like a repeat of the clash in September, with the Sky Blues far and away the better side.

While a gilt-edged Romelu Lukaku was enough to leave everyone at the Etihad Stadium with hearts in their mouths, Ederson came up trumps with a lionhearted save.

As Pep Guardiola's men made it 12 Premier League wins on the spin, here are five things we learned from the hosts' 1-0 triumph:


Kevin De Bruyne, Ladies and Gentlemen

The gall to question the genius of Kevin De Bruyne this season has been an appalling attempt at comedy by some of his detractors. And ultimately, the Belgian always ends up having the last laugh.

The ability to leave none other than the monstrous N’Golo Kante for dead on the half-turn and clip the ball past Kepa to decide the contest is just vintage stuff from a messiah who has made greatness standard at this point.

This was not a display where he was at his devastating best, but guess what?

Manchester City’s number 17 is perhaps the only player on the pitch that can make something out of nothing - as he did in the 70th minute.

That’s five Premier League goals in eight fixtures against Chelsea. That is yet another blot on the Blues’ inconceivable decision to willingly let go of a phenom at their disposal.

But most importantly, that can be added to the countless number of reminders that Kevin De Bruyne is still the best midfielder on the planet.


Raheem Sterling on the Right is Never Wrong

Pep Guardiola’s arrival in 2016 coincided with the transformation of hit-and-miss winger, Raheem Sterling.

This is not to say that he is not electric on the left flank, but to emphasize that he’s unplayable on the right.

Much is said about Sterling’s pace, but his decision-making is just as quick - bursting down the byline and being a box of tricks all evening.

The point about playing as a right-winger is so pertinent here, as the England international is always on his natural foot, regardless of the direction he takes that makes him a nightmare to stop.

And another aspect that may go under the radar is how unreal Sterling’s hold-up play with his deceptive upper-body strength and bringing others into play like a seasoned number nine on several occasions.

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On another day, Raheem Sterling would have a goal or an assist to his name without question, but there’s no disputing that he was the best player on the pitch throughout the contest.


Stones and Laporte, Take a Bow

As Ruben Dias’ name was excluded from the starting XI, the groans were aplenty, but John Stones and Aymeric Laporte appeased any concerns with stellar showings.

Manchester City’s centre-back pairing dealt with the looming threat of Romelu Lukaku with aplomb, while also sniffing out the transitions with a host of key interceptions.

But if there’s one area where this pairing is suited to a tee, it is with the ball at their feet. 

Stones and Laporte have a superior range of passing to the likes of Dias and Aké and the duo broke the lines constantly, as Chelsea sat in their deep block with all eyes on launching counter-attacks.

The presence of the two Rolls Royce central defenders was vital in dismantling Thomas Tuchel’s side’s structure and letting Pep Guardiola’s men impose their ball-dominant style of play to perfection.


Ederson Stepped Up When it Mattered!

There’s a lot more to being a modern-day goalkeeper and Ederson is the embodiment of one of the game’s most transformative tactical shifts from back in the day. 

On days where he’s largely untroubled, the Brazilian continues to be one of the side’s most essential passers in a multitude of situations.

But when Chelsea found a way behind the City backline against the run of play, Ederson practically saved the game for all practical purposes. 

Not only was it an outstanding save from Romelu Lukaku's curling effort, but his footballing intelligence came to the fore when demanded, closing down the angle instantly and parrying the ball away from danger in excellent fashion.


Cometh the Hour, Cometh Bernardo Silva

Peanut butter and jelly, Bernardo Silva and big games - some things just always go together in this little old thing we called life.

And make no mistake about it, today was yet another stellar showing from a maestro of the sport that we all know and love.

Playing in a recognisably deeper role, Bernardo Silva was what Ilkay Gundogan is - the controller in the middle of the park who keeps things ticking and dictates the tempo of the contest.

But then he also possesses this uncanny ability of constantly winning back the ball and being an incredible defensive presence, like a seasoned box-to-box midfielder.

It is especially in the deeper areas of the pitch in the second 45 minutes when the Portuguese international's press resistance, silky passes, and hard work were at its best - crucial in gradually putting the visitors to sleep.


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