Chelsea travelled back to Manchester in a bid to upset the defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. As predicted, the game started in whirlwind fashion with both sides marching forward for goals. But it was Chelsea who drew first blood, when N’Golo Kante rode forward and squeezed a goal past Ederson at the 21stminute.
Their joy was, however, short-lived. Former man Kevin de Bruyne scored in the 29th-minute after his shot deflected off Kurt Zouma into goal. City completed the comeback at the 37th-minute mark, when Riyad Mahrez wheezed past bodies before shooting a low drive past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The game’s momentum slowed down in the second half, with City seeing off a late Chelsea surge to get back to winning ways and go back to being 9 points behind Liverpool in the title race.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Frank Lampard (6.0) –
Lampard showed courage going into the Etihad with an attacking side, but that somewhat cost him. While he pressed on City’s pressure points well early on, opting to play the defensively frail Emerson cost dearly. He also had no real plan to nullify De Bruyne or Mahrez, both who changed the complexion of the game. However, taking the fight to City at their own yard proved his fearlessness again.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (6.0) –
Kepa was unlucky to see De Bruyne’s shot take a deflection past him and Mahrez’s shot was too powerful for him to get a palm on. But he nearly caused more humiliation by horribly gifting the ball straight to Aguero close to goal, but lucky to see his shot strike the bar. Redeemed that with a stunning save to tip over Mahrez’s shot at the 64th, followed by a few more to try keep his side in the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta (6.5) –
The Spaniard’s having a bit of trouble with Sterling’s pace early on. But Azpi used his experience to good use in order to nullify the England international’s threat, making timely challenges to keep him quiet. Started romping forward in the 2nd half and set up a great chance for Kante in the 53rd after a cunning forward move.
Minutes later, he made a crucial clearance off the line to deny City their third. A persistent figure in defence, he worked very hard to cover for his younger defenders.
Fikayo Tomori (5.5) –
Tomori wasn’t nervous at all and almost scored in the 15th when his shot out of nowhere powered just wide of the target. A bit erratic with his distribution, but remained strong with his challenges. Mahrez’s shot went through his legs into the net. Showcased his inexperience at times with positional mistakes or mistimed tackles, but this will be a learning curve for him.
Kurt Zouma (6.5)-
Playing against the daunting Sergio Aguero, Zouma has held a firm grip in the early minutes. Deflected De Bruyne’s shot into the goal. Despite that mistake, Zouma was otherwise pretty solid. He nullified Aguero’s threat, made some strong challenges and important clearances to keep the hosts contained. Made up for Tomori’s mistakes as well.
Emerson (4.5) –
Emerson has a big task ahead of him and already allowed a few balls past him leading to chances for City. Going forward he was much better but lacked the cutting-edge. Looked nervy against Mahrez throughout and allowed him to skate past him too easily for his goal. Emerson was never close to stopping the Algerian and was outwitted by him almost every time. Subbed after a poor showing.
Jorginho (5.0) –
The Italian’s distribution is slick as ever, but he’s having problems dealing with City’s attacking intensity. Completely lost track of De Bruyne leading to his goal. Failed to stop the Belgian from controlling the tempo of the game and was booked around hour-mark for a frustrated lunge on him.
Mateo Kovacic (6.5) –
Kovacic maintained a composure attitude in the middle and proved his impeccable vision when he found the marauding Kante for the opener with a stunning defence-splitting pass. Kovacic’s distribution all over was commendable and he worked hard to throttle them forward, but he got boxed out by City as the intensity rose.
N’Golo Kante (7.5) –
The man for the big occasions, Kante looks pumped with adrenaline. Created a decent chance for Abraham early on after smartly wandering outside the City area. But he truly livened up around the 21st minute, making a darting run inside the box before bewildering both Mendy and Ederson to tuck into the net.
Almost scored another at the 53rd minute, but his shot from short-range was blocked off. He marked David Silva out the game, proved his “three-lung” reputation by relentlessly winning back the ball. Unlucky to be on the losing side after such an effort.
Williams is aiming to be Chelsea’s driving force again today, but scuffed a big chance to open the scoring from close after being played through by Abraham in the 8th minute. Accelerated Chelsea forward with his bursting runs, but couldn’t find that killer pass. Struck a powerful shot just over Ederson’s goal around the 81st minute.
Tammy Abraham (5.0) –
Abraham looks lively going forward. Found a stunning through-ball for Willian early on before powering his own shot over around the 11th minute. However he himself rarely found the ball in promising areas and was left frustrated in the end.
Christian Pulisic (6.0)-
Despite missing the International games for USA, Pulisic recovered in time for the game. He looks fearless romping forward, skipping past bodies with ease and looking to create through the left. Got the better of Cancelo-going past him multiple times- while also linking quickly with his team-mates, but failed to find that added spark to his game.
Reece James (6.0)-
A breath of fresh air, showcasing urgency in winning back the ball and getting his side forward. The youngster’s delivery from the right was superb, but his swerving crosses weren’t meeting anyone.
Michy Batshuayi (5.0) –
Bats made a mockery of his super-sub reputation, getting caught offside multiple times and slipping in a promising scoring situation around the 82nd minute.
Mason Mount (5.5) –
Urged his side forward after coming on looking for the equalizer. Almost got it in added time, with his free-kick from nearly 35 yards out sweeping just past the goal.
MAN OF THE MATCH
N’Golo Kante proved why he’s considered Chelsea’s best player with another energetic, lung-bursting outing. He also scored a clever goal and gave Chelsea a fighting chance. He’s definitely their MOTM.