Chelsea 1-3 Man City: First-half City blitz adds to Frank Lampard woe

By The Rainbow
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Manchester City dazzled with a first-half flurry to beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, leaving Frank Lampard’s side with just one win in six Premier League games.

It was the “best City have played all season” said Gary Neville on commentary as they move up to fifth, four points off leaders Liverpool with a game in hand, while Chelsea are down in eighth, seven off the lead having played a game more.

After a sluggish start, Ilkay Gundogan continued his goalscoring run with a brilliant turn and finish from 18 yards (18), before Phil Foden’s deft finish at the near post from Kevin De Bruyne’s centre moments later (21).

Playing without a recognised striker, City made Chelsea look like they were playing without defenders as De Bruyne turned scorer (34). Chelsea committed numbers forward, and the Belgian finished off on the rebound after Raheem Sterling had hit the post having found himself through on goal from the halfway line.

Chelsea sub Callum Hudson-Odoi (90+2) finished at the far post for a consolation, but the damage had been done, leaving Lampard with a points-per-game ratio in the Premier League of 1.67, lower than any Chelsea manager in the Roman Abramovich era. Player ratings

Chelsea: Mendy (5), Azpilicueta (4), Chilwell (4), Zouma (5), Thiago (5), Kante (4), Kovacic (5), Mount (5), Pulisic (6), Ziyech (5), Werner (5)

Subs: Hudson-Odoi (7), Gilmour (5), Havertz (NA)

Man City: Steffen (7), Dias (7), Stones (7), Zinchenko (7), Cancelo (8), Rodri (8), Gundogan (9), Foden (8), Silva (7), De Bruyne (9), Sterling (7).

Subs: Fernandinho (6), Aguero (NA), Mahrez (NA)

Man of the match: Ilkay Gundogan
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Open the full version How City blew away Chelsea with early show

City’s game against Everton had been called off due to Covid-19 cases at the club, but Pep Guardiola’s side looked in good health with an outstanding first-half display.

Starting with De Bruyne as the furthest man forward, City barely saw Chelsea’s half in the opening 15 minutes as the hosts looked to press high and stun their opponents early on. But it was City who blitzed with goals just two minutes and 37 seconds apart from each other.

In fact, De Bruyne should have had them ahead moments before their opener, slipping wide from Joao Cancelo’s through ball when one-on-one with Edouard Mendy after Chelsea’s defence had parted too easily.

City have required goals from different sources in the absence of Sergio Aguero this season, and it was Gundogan again who contributed with a turn and finish from just inside the box from Foden’s square touch, beating Mendy low down to his left despite getting a touch. It was man-of-the-match Gundogan’s third goal in four games having scored three in his previous 38 before that.

City smelled blood and were soon feasting on Chelsea; after working their way up the pitch well, De Bruyne’s deft low pass through the legs of Cesar Azpilicueta found Foden peeling off the defence at the near post, and he stroked past Mendy at his near post from six yards.

They were helped to their third by some woeful Chelsea defending, with Sterling clean through on goal before he’d even reached the halfway line after N’Golo Kante’s scuffed kick as Chelsea piled the box.

Sterling travelled to the box, turned back as Mendy rushed out, then hit the post with his effort from an angle to the left of the box, only for De Bruyne to clean up the rebound with a touch and finish into the bottom corner, his first non-penalty goal this season.

It was “football at its best” said Graeme Souness at half-time as City flexed their muscles, but Chelsea’s defending was, according to Roy Keane, “shocking, with no aggression”, with Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma failing to make a single tackle in 90 minutes.

City nearly scored a fourth early in the second half as Mendy tipped over Rodri’s header at point-blank range, and though Chelsea shut up shop, it was one of very few positives they could take from a concerning day at Stamford Bridge.

There were only half chances for either side as City took their foot off the gas – Mateo Kovacic struck wide, as did De Bruyne – while Timo Werner registered just one shot as his wait for a goal approaches 800 minutes.