Manchester City shuts down hosts Chelsea; Sterling, Pulisic hurt
Manchester City snapped to life at halftime and went on to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday through Riyad Mahrez’s second-half goal.
City moves back within five points of Premier League leaders Arsenal and now has a four-point advantage on third-place Newcastle and fourth-place Manchester United.
City’s played one more match than Newcastle and the same number as their Manchester derby rivals United, who City meets later this month.
It’s a fifth loss in seven across all competitions for Chelsea, who lost Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic to early injuries. The Blues sit 10th on the Premier League table with 25 points.
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Chelsea runs out of gas as Man City finds reserve tank
Graham Potter’s project is going to take a lot of time, and we’re not sure all of the ingredients have been delivered from the best of providers.
The hope of an electrifying game featuring Sterling, Pulisic, and Hakim Ziyech in a front three was changed to Ziyech, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Carney Chukwuemeka within 22 minutes of kickoff.
It just didn’t work, although Chukwuemeka did hit the post with a promising effort. Fortunately for Potter, Man City again looked sleepy for at least 45 minutes.
It got better for CIty after the break even before subs Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez teamed up for a fine goal.
City might’ve not dominated possession as usual -- 52 percent -- but the defending champions ran the xG game by a 2.08-0.41 margin and also plunked the post (though Nathan Ake).
On a night without Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte, City was barely bothered at the back. When it was, John Stones was there for two big early interventions.
Stars of the Show
Kevin De Bruyne
Each other. Man City hosts Chelsea on Sunday in the FA Cup. Then Chelsea’s off to Fulham on Jan. 12 for a PL match while City goes to Southampton in the League Cup. City’s next Premier League outing is Jan. 14 for a Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
Riyad Mahrez goal video: Grealish cues up Algerian’s opener
How to watch Chelsea vs Manchester City live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 3pm ET, ThursdayTV Channel: PeacockOnline: Stream via Peacock Premium
Chelsea are struggling under new boss Graham Potter and even though some of their fans seem to be getting anxious, this was always going to be a long-term project. After almost two decades of a hire ‘em and fire ‘em mentality, Potter is being asked to build an attractive, consistent team and that will take time. Chelsea’s owners and everyone connected with the west London club will have to be patient and give Potter time. But is time something anybody in football gets? Defensively they look okay but going forward there is a real lack of spark and creativity. They continue to be linked with big money signings as Todd Boehly and Co. flex their financial muscles but if this poor run continues, Chelsea could be out of the top four hunt very soon.
Manchester City were held at home by Everton and this was the kind of result which happens to them once or twice a season. They dominated play, scored early and for whatever reason just couldn’t score the second goal. Everton then broke and scored a beauty with their one effort on target. Sometimes, that’s football. Pep Guardiola knows his team will take a little while to get back up to speed as so many played at the World Cup and this trip to Chelsea will be a great opportunity to get back to their best and prove they are more than capable of chasing down league-leaders Arsenal. Guardiola will want a reaction.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa continues to perform well, while Jorginho is doing his best to hold things together in midfield. USMNT star Christian Pulisic is playing well, while Chelsea need Marc Cucurella and Cesar Azpilicueta to step up amid their slew of full back injuries.
Man City’s Erling Haaland continues to score goals at an alarming rate as he has 21 so far in the Premier League. Kevin de Bruyne is also looking back to his best and is showing off his class on the ball.
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
N’Golo Kante and Reece James remain out injured but are working their way back to full fitness. Having that duo back soon will be a big boost for Chelsea. Armando Broja, Ben Chilwell, and Wesley Fofana remain out, while Edouard Mendy (shoulder) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (calf) are working their way back.
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
City have two defensive injuries with Ruben Dias out with a hamstring injury and Aymeric Laporte a doubt with a back problem. Kyle Walker comes back in at right back although youngster Rico Lewis has been exceptional in recent games.