Chelsea failed to stop Man City from running away in the Premier League title race, falling to a frustrating 0-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium.
The Citizens dominated the first half, enjoying 63% of the possession and creating the biggest chances – but were unable to finish off their chances properly. Chelsea couldn’t get a shot on goal and knew they needed major improvements to win the game in the second half.
Chelsea started the second half sharply, but missed some glorious chances to take the lead. That came back to haunt them, as City took the lead in the 70th-minute after a brilliant effort from Kevin de Bruyne – who moved through midfield before slotting a perfect shot into the top corner.
Pep Guardiola’s side was able to hold onto the lead, getting their 12th win in a row. They’re now 13 points clear at the top of the table, and 14 ahead of Liverpool (who have 2 games in hand). With the loss, Chelsea now bow out of the title race and will have to work hard to hold onto the 3rd spot until the end of the season.
Here are the Chelsea player ratings at Man City for Jan 15, 2022.
Chelsea Player Ratings at Manchester City
Thomas Tuchel (5.0) –
Tuchel tried to get one over Pep by playing a predictable defensive team, but starting Ziyech over Mount or the underperforming Lukaku didn’t make sense. In the end, it blew up on his face as Chelsea only had 1 shot on target all game long.
His side were defensively pretty decent all game long and only conceded a goal thanks to some KDB magic. But his tactics were too pragmatic and City neutralized the counter-attacking style relatively easily. Sees his side probably move out of the title race with this loss, but has to improve Chelsea’s general playing style and form to stay alive in the top-3 race throughout the campaign.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (6.5) –
A big game for the Chelsea no.2. Nearly makes a catastrophic error in the 4th minute by hitting a clearance at his own player, but lucky to see the rebound go wide. Makes a fantastic save in a one-v-one situation to deny Grealish in the 39th.
Denies De Bruyne’s swirling free-kick smartly in the 63rd. Couldn’t do much to save KDB’s perfectly-struck goal, though. Made some good saves and squashed the questions around his ability.
Malang Sarr (7.0) –
The young Frenchman did relatively well to help Alonso keep Sterling quiet in the first half. Held his own under difficult conditions to ruin a lot of City’s attacks with his clutch challenges. Sarr made 3 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 clearances in a really solid defensive showing to frustrate Sterling & co.
Cesar Azpilicueta (7.5)-
The Chelsea captain lead from the front in the backline, getting into key areas to cut out City’s flow in the final third. Created some nice chances with pinpoint crosses after City’s goal, but unable to see his forwards pounce on them.
Azpilicueta was all over the right side, winning 10 duels, making 6 clearances and 2 tackles in an inspiring effort – but even that couldn’t help Chelsea get a point.
Thiago Silva (6.0) –
Silva has to maintain a sturdy backline to frustrate the hosts today. Quite sharp at the back for the majority of the game, but couldn’t react fast enough to deny De Bruyne’s shot leading to the goal.
Antonio Rudiger (7.0) –
Rudiger is tasked to mark the dangerous Grealish. Did so superbly, nullifying his threat and not allowing him a sniff at the goal. Covered a lot of ground to maintain a strong defensive line and made some really clutch clearances. Continues to raise his stock as his Chelsea contract comes close to expiring.
Marcos Alonso (6.0) –
Alonso faces a tough test against the in-form Sterling. Booked in the 4th minute for an unnecessary challenge on him. Recovered decently after a slow start, being quite proactive on the left-wing and working hard to keep Sterling from getting into promising areas. Unable to create anything going forward, though.
Mateo Kovacic (6.5) –
Kovacic is looking energetic in midfield and trying to cover lots of space to deny City penetration through the middle. Nearly makes a huge error by losing possession near the box in the 39th, but Kepa saves his blushes. Almost makes up by playing a great pass to send Lukaku through on goal in the 48th.
The Serbian midfielder’s distribution was slick and he pressed the City midfielders well, but a bit sloppy in giving away possession at times.
N’Golo Kante (5.5) –
Kante played a more proactive role than usual, sitting deep in midfield to protect his backline and only pressing the City midfielders in the threatening areas. Failed in his attempt to bring down De Bruyne seconds before his goal.
The Frenchman wasn’t allowed the ‘free role’ he excels at and looked limited while trying to shield his backline. Still made 5 tackles and won 7 duels, but unfortunate to caught out before KDB’s strike.
Hakim Ziyech (3.5) –
Ziyech surprisingly starts over Mount and failed to be at his creative best. Infuriates Tuchel with a poor overhit pass in the 14th that could’ve sent Lukaku through on goal. Got a decent chance on the rebound after Lukaku’s promising chance in the 48th, but his shot went well over. Gave away the ball with his sloppy experimental passes and couldn’t create anything genuine.
Christian Pulisic (5.0) –
Pulisic will look to trouble the City attackers with his electric forward runs. Quite isolated on the right-wing through the first half. Struggled to operate down an unusual right-wing role and taken off after the hour-mark.
Romelu Lukaku (3.0) –
Lukaku has a big chance to fix his relationship with Chelsea fans with a top performance here. Does well to muscle his way through on goal in the 10th, but unable to create a goal-scoring chance. After frustrating in the first half, he was sent through clear on goal in the 48th but saw his underwhelming shot saved by Ederson.
Gave away possession so many times because of his poor first-touch, missed the only big chance to get a point for his side and lacked any threat in the final third. His big-game problems continue.
Timo Werner (6.0) –
Got a big chance to score the equalizer minutes after coming on, but his shot from close range was blocked.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (N/R) –
The youngster wasn’t really able to threaten City nor able to create anything definite after coming on.
Mason Mount (N/R) –
Brought on too late to make any kind of an impact.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Azpilicueta was Chelsea’s brightest player today, putting in a lot of good work defensively and offensively. But De Bruyne was at his irresistible best, dominating things in midfield and scoring a stunning winner to make the difference in the game. He’s the MOTM today.