Chelsea beat Manchester City at the Etihad to go 4 points clear at the summit of the Premier league. They went into the game on a 7 game unbeaten run, conceding only one goal. The Blues were clearly the in-form team.
City were coming off the back of a scrappy 2-1 win over Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend. They had however been poor at home recently. Manager Pep Guardiola needed a positive result going into this game. They were a point behind Chelsea who had romped to the top of the league after a defeat to Arsenal back in September.
As had been the case last week Chelsea had a sluggish start and were on the back foot for most of the first half with Silva, and Navas providing dangerous balls into the box from crosses. The goal eventually came for City albeit via an own goal from Gary Cahill after his attempt to clear a Navas cross found the back of his own net.
After the interval the onus was now on Chelsea to find a quick response. They were still rugged and City had the chance to extend their lead, first Aguero failed to punish Cahill and Courtois after they both failed to communicate well to get the ball away. Kevin De Bruyne also missed from about two yards as his shot hit the cross bar. Chelsea were rattled and needed a goal to get them back into the game.
Cue Fabregas who had been left out of the team due to great performances from Matic. With Matic injured, Conte was forced to call on the Spaniard and he didn’t disappoint. His delightful lob pass to Costa was a sight to behold and the top goal scorer made no mistake, stabbing the ball into the back of the net.
Chelsea were now on top and 10 minutes later Costa found Willian after they turned a City attack into an attack of their own. The Brazilian blasted the shot past a helpless Claudio Bravo. The Blues were back on top.
They dictated play from then on giving City very few chances and looking to see the game out. The game was marred at the end after a nasty tackle on Luiz from Aguero led to a brawl that saw both Aguero and Fernandinho sent off. The latter was dismissed for shoving Fabregas by the neck. That looked to taint a brilliant display but the Blues were having none of it. They completed the demolition job after a pass from Alonso found Hazard who made it three goals to one with seconds to go.
Chelsea made a big statement with this win and with their next 6 fixtures against opposition considered inferior to them it would take a brave man to bet against them not winning the league come May. For City it’s back to the drawing board for Pep who is yet to find his favoured formation or team. The pressure is on and Pep has got a lot to learn. City have a lot of work to do and with Aguero suspended until the 31st of December as least, they have their work pretty cut out.
The title race is well on and Chelsea from this performance are proving to be worthy Conte-nders.