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Manchester City vs Chelsea: De Bruyne the hero for runaway leaders

Kevin De Bruyne's sublime strike could eventually prove a title winner, as league leaders Manchester City took down Chelsea to increase their cushion to 13 points.

Manchester City vs Chelsea final score: This clash was decided by a moment of magic by Kevin de Bruyne, as Pep Guardiola’s side extend their lead atop the Premier League table.

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City looked more dangerous throughout and De Bruyne won it in the second half as the reigning Premier League champions are now 13 points clear at the top.

Chelsea never really got going in a game they had to win, as City have now won 12 games in a row and are surging towards back-to-back titles.

Liverpool can cut the gap at the top to eight points if they win their games in hand, but all signs points towards another title parade at the Etihad Stadium in May.


What we learned from Manchester City vs Chelsea

City are the champions-elect

Liverpool are the only team that can catch City now and even if they win their games in-hand, they need City to lose three of their final 16 games to have a chance of winning the title. That doesn’t seem likely. City have won 12 in a row and have been consistently excellent throughout the last three months. Guardiola has rotated his team perfectly and different players are stepping up all the time. City are the champions elect, even if they don’t want to admit it.

Lukaku has a point about Chelsea’s playing style

When he revealed he wasn’t a fan of Tuchel’s tactics, many questioned what the heck Lukaku was talking about. Maybe he’s got a point? Lukaku made so many good runs, especially in the first half, but Chelsea were slow on the ball and not direct enough to find him. He needs a partner up top, someone like Werner? In the second half Lukaku was denied by Ederson with his only chance of the game and Chelsea have to find a way to get the best out of him if they want to win other trophies and defend their Champions League trophy. Their Premier League dreams are done after this defeat.

De Bruyne holds a grudge (goal video)

Kevin de Bruyne scored the winner and he has now scored five goals against Chelsea, his former club. That means KDB has scored more goals against Chelsea than against any other PL team and he clearly wants to remind them it was a mistake to let him leave. Of course, both he and Chelsea were in different places when he was allowed to depart Stamford Bridge but Kevin de Bruyne is making them rue the day they allowed him to leave for Wolfsburg. His beautiful goal sealed the win and he got the better of N’Golo Kante, which few people have ever done. A classy display.

Tactical focus

City, as always, dominated possession and frustrated Chelsea who usually like to dictate the tempo of the game. Chelsea did have some joy playing direct, long passes as Romelu Lukaku was set free in each half but couldn’t make the most of those opportunities. It is always a tight, intense clash when these two meet and Guardiola has a superstar at the top of his game and in his prime in Kevin de Bruyne. Having KDB in this sort of form makes a mockery of the tactical plans of even the top teams and coaches.

Stars of the show

Kevin de Bruyne - He had the game-winning moment and oozed class throughout. Plus, a special word for Raheem Sterling who caused City’s defense (and especially Alonso) so many problems.

Mateo Kovacic - Silky on the ball and at the heart of everything good Chelsea did. His pass in the second half to set up a big chance for Romelu Lukaku was perfection.

What’s next?

Manchester City head to play in-form Southampton at St Mary’s next Saturday (Jan. 22), as Pep Guardiola’s side aim to keep their incredible run of wins going.

Chelsea have a quick turnaround as they travel to the Amex to play Brighton on Tuesday (Jan. 18) in a game rearranged due to their participation in the Club World Cup in February.

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