Man City smashes Chelsea, Mahrez spins impeccable free kick
Riyad Mahrez’s latest free kick goal is as close to perfect as you’ll find, as the Algerian wizard helped Manchester City cruise past Chelsea 4-0n on Sunday in FA Cup action at the Etihad Stadium.
Mahrez would later score from the penalty spot to lead City, who also saw Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden score to set up a fourth-round tie with Monday’s winner of Arsenal and Oxford United.
Mahrez spun an absolutely sparkling effort over the Chelsea wall and just inside the upper 90, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga pawing for air in Manchester.
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City doubled its advantage through a Phil Foden-won and Julian Alvarez-converted penalty, and two goals seven minutes apart put Chelsea in serious trouble.
Foden got a goal of his own off a no-look Kyle Walker pass, the English back himself cued up by Mahrez, in the 39th minute.
Mahrez now has 70 goals for Manchester City, giving him 118 in England after beginning his starring role in the country with Leicester City. He also has 86 assists.
Man City can win everything (again)
Mahrez shone bright in City’s latest depth flex as Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Ilkay Gundogan, and John Stones were unneeded to beat the Blues.
So, yeah, what if we told you that City can again dream of a quadruple?
City’s five points behind Arsenal in the Premier League but will play the Gunners twice. It heads to Southampton on Wednesday in the League Cup quarterfinal, making the champs three wins from silverware there, and will be favored to advance past RB Leipzig when the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 arrives in late February.
The Citizens were handed a (probably) tough fourth-round draw in the winner of Arsenal vs Oxford United (you really think the Gunners will be upset at home).
Pressure remains on Graham Potter
The ex-Brighton boss has sounded confident tones about his future at Chelsea, where owner Todd Boehly made him his first managerial hire and has spent big on young prospects.
And Potter continued to show a lack of true desperation in starting two very young backs in Lewis Hall and Bashir Humphreys against the Premier League champions (Trevoh Chalobah isn’t elderly, either).
But Chelsea managed just 0.10 expected goals despite Pep Guardiola starting Sergio Gomez, Cole Palmer, and Julian Alvarez amongst the field players and Stefan Ortega in goal (He only made a single save and collected just 43 touches).
There’s a lot of work for Potter to do, but playing City twice in a week with Raheem Sterling, and Christian Pulisic now amongst the injured is not a laugh riot.
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