The champagne goes back on ice for now, as Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea beat Manchester City following late drama at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Blues approached the game with nine changes and an unusual formation, but managed to control the game in the first-half. Manchester City were the first side to strike, after Raheem Sterling opened the scoring at the very end of the first half.
Pep Guardiola’s men could have doubled their lead had Sergio Agüero converted his penalty kick just moments later, but the Argentine botched his attempt while trying a panenka from 12 yards.
Chelsea fought back strongly in the second half, as an amateur error from Rodrigo led the West London side drawing level through Hakim Ziyech. More drama came late in the game when Manchester City were controversially denied a penalty for a foul on Raheem Sterling. Thomas Tuchel’s men shortly went on to snatch all three points courtesy of Marcos Alonso, as a consequence of some shaky defensive efforts.
The Champions-elect still need three more points from their remaining games to secure the title. Manchester United play three Premier League games in quick succession before Manchester City’s next game against Newcastle United. However, should United drop three points during that period, then Guardiola's side will win the Premier League before they step foot on to the pitch again.
Here’s how we rated the players on a disappointing afternoon's work today...
Ederson – 6
A strong game suddenly turned upside down for the Brazilian who was looking at a potential clean sheet heading into the tunnel at half-time. Could have done better in keeping Hakim Ziyech’s strike out but not entirely his fault.
Joao Cancelo – 5
Below-par from the Portuguese international this evening as he failed to get involved in Manchester City’s attack. Did not see as much of the ball as he usually does and as a result did not have much effect on the game itself.
Aymeric Laporte – 7
Did amazingly for a major chunk of the game, handling a quick Timo Werner brilliantly. His levels dropped off at the very end as he failed to deal with the cross which led to Chelsea’s second goal.
Ruben Dias – 8.5
First player to complete 4,000 minutes for Manchester City this season, and that too in his first campaign speaks volumes. Gave a brilliant De Bryune-esque pass up the field to Gabriel Jesus which ultimately ended up in the net for City’s first goal. Solid performance without mistakes as usual.
Nathan Aké – 7
Dealt with Reece James brilliantly for the better part of the game. He was strong on the ball and good defensively until the events leading up to Marcos Alonso’s goal.
Benjamin Mendy – 4
Started off the game with decent energy going forward but faded away soon. Just could not deal with Reece James on the left, making City prone to attacks from the left and was later replaced for this very reason.
Rodrigo – 4
Made a flashing error opening up the chance for Chelsea’s first goal. Was slow on the ball and eventually got caught in possession. Could have done much better throughout the game. Disappointing outing for him.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Very energetic and dynamic on the pitch from the beginning. Was given the role of picking up the ball from the midfield and carrying it forward. Grabbed a brilliant opportunity to give City the lead as Agüero stumbled upon the ball, being in the right place at the right time to slot the ball into the back of the net. Was denied a clear penalty after Kurt Zouma tripped the Englishman in Chelsea’s box.
Gabriel Jesus – 6
Tried to get a shot off in Chelsea’s six-yard box and in the process drew a foul from Billy Gilmour resulting in a City penalty. Good work rate from the Brazilian but very little effect on the game apart from that cross leading up to the first goal.
Sergio Agüero – 5
Was very active in the initial stages, dropping into the midfield at times to get things going. Fluffed a very good chance to put City firmly into the driving seat by horribly missing a penalty as he tried to catch the goalkeeper with a panenka. Ultimately, his goal would have been the difference in this game.
Ferran Torres – 5
The youngster is still getting to grips with life in Guardiola’s system, unfair for him to be put out on the pitch on rare occasions and in weird systems during his first season with the team. The Spaniard was almost non-existent on the pitch.
Ilkay Gundogan – 6
Did not make a real difference to the side when he was brought on, much down to the fact that Chelsea had all the momentum at the time.
Phil Foden – 5
Did not get involved as much after he came on with only 20 minutes to play.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – N/A
Was brought on in place of Benjamin Mendy to deal with Reece James. No real time to mark though.
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