Chelsea host Manchester City in a big mid-week encounter, winning which can solidify their top-four chances and hand Liverpool their first-ever Premier League title! They did so with an emphatic 2-1 win, giving Jurgen Klopp’s men license to celebrate and boosting their top-4 chances. After sustaining a lot of early pressure, the Blues took a smash & grab lead in the 36th minute when Christian Pulisic finished off his own created counter-attack superbly.
However, City equalized quickly after the break, with Kevin de Bruyne’s superb 55th-minute free-kick making it 1-1. But Chelsea regained the lead in the 78th minute after some drama in the City box saw Fernandinho sent off for deliberate handball inside the area, after which Willian slotted away his penalty perfectly.
The Blues got the job done in the end, extending their lead to 5 points ahead of fifth-place Manchester United & Wolves as well. They now look a lock-in for the 4th place and could even finish 3rd, being only one point behind Leicester City!
Chelsea Player Ratings
Frank Lampard (7.0) –
Lampard took a bit of a risk benching Abraham, Loftus-Cheek and Kovacic! His tactics eventually paid off, with Chelsea absorbing the pressure really well while being destructive on the counter. Used the typical ‘Anti-Guardiola’ method to perfection in gaining a big win. His substitutions were great as well, while Lampard seems to be using his options wisely after the break.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (7.5) –
Kepa’s earned back his manager’s trust to become Chelsea’s #1 again. Nearly made a disaster in the 15th minute when his botched clearance allowed Bernardo Silva a free attempt at goal, but thankfully he wasn’t clinical enough.
Made up with a sublime one-handed save to keep out Fernandinho’s header in the 18th. Unable to do anything for De Bruyne’s goal but closed down Sterling quickly to concede another in the 57th. Pretty solid showing from Kepa.
Cesar Azpilicueta (7.0) –
Chelsea’s captain has a tough night ahead with City building the majority of their attacks through his side. However, Azpilicueta kept Sterling very quiet with his composed defensive work. He held a strong defensive line, held his guard and made necessary challenges whenever required. Thrived under the pressure in an inspired performance.
Andreas Christensen (7.5) –
Christensen looks really proactive in covering a lot of ground to make necessary challenges early on. Struck a thunderous header in the 33rd minute, forcing a solid stop. Christensen popped up in all the right areas today, helping him make crucial clearances and fend off danger. Restricted City’s supply chain superbly and showcased impressive maturity in dealing with the threat.
Antonio Rudiger (6.5) –
Rudiger looks undaunted against the intense pressure and is indomitable aerially, clearing whatever comes his way. Thwarted away a lot of danger, bullied City’s players with his tough tackles and helped his side sustain a lot of pressure into gaining the win.
Marcos Alonso (6.0) –
The Spaniard looks vulnerable against the skilfully Riyad Mahrez. Got booked in the first half for a cynical foul on the winger and couldn’t contain him well at all. Couldn’t deal with Mahrez that well, but didn’t make any fatal error either. Not as threatening on the attack as his forward movement was restricted.
N’Golo Kante (7.0) –
Kante’s operating in a much deeper role today. The three-lunged Frenchman is working twice at hard to close down space for the City midfielders. Bit unlucky to see his conceded free-kick leading to the equalizer. Sloppy with his passing on occasions which perhaps indicates he isn’t ideal for this role.
But Kante protected his defence really well, making necessary tackles, recovering possession and driving his side forward.
Mason Mount (6.5) –
Mount needs to prove his defensive sturdiness while tracking back a lot today. The Englishman is working pretty well with Kante & co in holding a strong midfield line. Superbly capitalized on an error in the 62nd minute but scuffed a big scoring opportunity by shooting wide. Mount worked his socks off today, but could’ve hoped to be more clinical in attack.
Ross Barkley (5.5) –
Barkley was nearly invisible towards the early stages but popped into a promising scoring area in the 27th, with his shot getting deflected wide. Looks threatening in counter-attacks. Phased out after the second-half and just not creative enough in forcing chances.
Willian (7.0) –
Willian’s trying to get things started down the right and almost created one big scoring chance early on when his buzzing cross was cleared away. After a relatively quiet game, he went on a blistering run into the area to force the penalty incident. Then slotted away the penalty confidently. Clinical display from the Brazilian.
Olivier Giroud (6.0) –
Giroud’s looking to use his physicality to create space for his fellow attackers. Linking up especially well with Pulisic to open up opportunities for him. But couldn’t get a single shot on goal before getting subbed.
Christian Pulisic (8.5) –
Gets a well-deserved start after his heroics against Aston Villa. Pulisic looks sharp running at City defenders early on. Gets rewarded for his persistence with the goal for which he ran more than half the field, stole the ball and outpaced two defenders before finishing beautifully.
Almost got his second after another sublime, penetrative run past City’s defenders and goalkeeper in the 71st, but saw his shot cleared off the line! Had another saved off the line before the penalty. Pulisic’s thunderous movement gave City defenders nightmares as the American proved just how good he is.
Tammy Abraham (6.5) –
Troubling City’s defenders with his off the ball movement. Caused mayhem before the penalty, but must be gutted not to score from yards out. He was definitely more of a threat than Giroud but will be gutted not to score.
Mateo Kovacic (6.0) –
The stylish midfielder helped Chelsea maintain their tempo towards the end to see out the win.
Billy Gilmour (N/R) –
The young talent made a sublime long ball to open up a late chance for Pedro.
Pedro Rodriguez (N/R) –
Had a big chance to make it 3-1 towards the end, but his attempted curler went wide.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Christian Pulisic was a level above every other attacker on the pitch. His sparky movement, dribbling ability and fearlessness oozed off class. Definitely the Man of the Match for me.