De Bruyne and Mahrez on target as City beat Chelsea
Premier League, Etihad Stadium - Manchester City 2 (De Bruyne 29', Mahrez 37') Chelsea 1 (Kante 21')
Chelsea played well for 25 minutes, taking the lead through N’Golo Kante, but their defence lacked the moxie and quality to keep City out, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scoring the goals which took the hosts above the visitors in the table to third, nine points behind leaders Liverpool.
After a quiet start to the game, Chelsea imposed themselves, taking the lead on 25 minutes when Mateo Kovacic's long pass found Kante in behind the City defence; the angle was against him, but when Ederson came out, he needed only to divert the ball past him, which he did.
City improved thereafter and on 29 minutes drew level, Kevin de Bruyne's poise worked a shooting angle before the ball clipped Kurt Zouma, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga stranded. And seven minutes later, the champions went in front, Riyad Mahrez foxing Emerson Palmieri to drive a shot past Kepa.
The second half was a lot less fun, City dominating the ball without creating much until Raheem Sterling thought he'd scored in injury-time, only for VAR to rule that his breath was offside.
Where should Fernandinho play? He was excellent at centre-back, but without him in midfield, his team lack bite. Rodri is a good player, but he's a controller not a tone-setter, and the difference was clear in the opening part of the game. No midfield can get by without at least a bit of aggression.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) Fernandinho was good, but De Bruyne's class was key to the switch in momentum.
Manchester City: Ederson 5, Cancelo 6, Fernandinho 8, Stones 6, Mendy 6, Rodri 5,Silva 5, De Bruyne 8, Mahrez 7, Aguero 6, Sterling 5. Subs: Gundogan 6, Jesus 6, Foden 6.
Man City's possession figure of 46.74% is the lowest recorded by a Pep Guardiola side in any of his 381 top-flight matches as a manager.
In 11 starts this season, Riyad Mahrez has been involved in 10 goals, scoring four and assisting six.
22’ - GOAL! Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea (Kante) Well! Nice from Jorginho and Kovacic in midfield, working space before the latter lofts a ball towards the middle for Kante, who has Stones hanging off him so he can't get a proper shot in. But because Ederson comes, all it needs is a nick to get it by him, and that's what happens!
29’ - GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea (De Bruyne) Fernandinho muscles into a challenge and finds Silva who flutters through midfield before two deflections on his pass feed De Bruyne. He thinks about shooting but, 20 yards out, ducks inside onto his left foot as Jorginho slides in en route to another dimension and slaps a shot that Kepa is about to save easily, only for it to deflect off Zouma as he dives out of its way.
37’ - LOVELY GOAL! Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea (Mahrez) Mahrez runs at Emerson then nips inside him just like Emerson must've known he was going to do and just as Kovacic arrives on the scene - too late to bring him down because he's now in the box, whereupon the Algerian smacks a low shot through Tomori's legs and into the far corner. Chelsea just don't have a defence good enough to absorb pressure, and now trail though City haven't yet got going.
43’ - Oh! Kepa loses concentration and bungles a clearance to Aguero who does the keeper with his eyes and lamps a shot that cannons the bar! Silva then tries to work an angle for Mahrez, but his first touch is heavy and the chance goes. Chelsea need half-time.
90+3’ - GOAL! Manchester City 3-1 Chelsea (Sterling) A long punt isn't cleared and when the ball bounces up, Mahrez beats Kovacic in the air, allowing Sterling to swivel into a scuff that bobbles past Kepa and into the far corner.
90+4' - NO GOAL! Sterling's breath was offside.