Defending champions Manchester City beat harm-hit Chelsea 1-zero on Thursday to close the distance on Premier League leaders Arsenal to just 5 points.
Pep Guardiola’s guys were nicely underneath par inside the first 1/2 but have been transformed after the ruin, with substitutes Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez combining for the most effective aim, scored by way of the Algerian in the 63rd minute.
Graham Potter’s Chelsea got here into the sport at Stamford Bridge languishing in tenth area within the table however they had the higher of the outlet 45 minutes.
However, it changed into a different tale inside the second half because the traffic located their attacking rhythm, with Guardiola admitting they had been “miles higher in each department” after the destroy.
“We struggled loads in the first half – it turned into sloppy and slow and with out rhythm,” the City boss instructed Sky Sports. “In the second half of it was a whole lot, lots higher from minute one.
“The three points are vital, without a doubt. The players comprehend it. For a long time we had been on the pinnacle. But we try, we have the FA Cup and Carabao (League) Cup and then Old Trafford. But it’s essential for those video games, a win today.”
Chelsea, already with out a grasp of senior gamers consisting of Mason Mount and Reece James, lost ahead Raheem Sterling to an obvious hamstring injury in the opening mins, replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The home side were first to threaten seriously however City defender John Stones got here to the rescue within the 16th minute as Christian Pulisic bore down on intention, producing a perfectly timed sliding tackle to deny the USA ahead.
The American turned into injured in the undertaking and turned into pressured off minutes later, compounding Chelsea’s issues.
Teenager Carney Chukwuemeka, who came on for Pulisic, nearly made an on the spot impact but his shot changed into blocked and Hakim Ziyech’s attempt became stored by using City goalkeeper Ederson.
Erling Haaland, who has 21 Premier League desires this season — one more than the entire Chelsea side – smashed a shot huge inside the thirty eighth minute on what proved to be a quiet evening for the Norwegian celebrity.
But Chelsea endured to appearance the more dangerous facet and got here agonisingly close to breaking the impasse when Chukwuemeka hit the publish just earlier than 1/2-time.
Guardiola, unhappy with what he had witnessed, made a double substitution on the c language, bringing on Rico Lewis and Manuel Akanji for Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker within the look for extra control.
The site visitors immediately settled and began to dictate play, with Nathan Ake heading against the woodwork, but Chelsea spoke back nicely and were inches away from taking the lead whilst Thiago Silva flashed huge.
Guardiola, whose crew drew 1-1 with Everton at the weekend, brought Grealish and Mahrez on the hour mark to similarly freshen up his attack.The choice paid dividends minutes later when Grealish produced an fantastic skip from the left and Mahrez prodded home from close variety.
Potter made modifications of his very own, bringing on England forward Conor Gallagher, but they were not able to locate an equaliser no matter some late strain.
The result leaves City five factors at the back of Arsenal, who dropped points in a zero-0 draw in opposition to high-flying Newcastle earlier in the week.
But Potter is underneath growing strain – Chelsea now have just one win of their past 8 league video games and remain 10 points off the pinnacle four.
Potter, whose Chelsea facet face City once more within the FA Cup third spherical at the Etihad on Sunday, stated he changed into proud of his group’s overall performance, specifically after dropping Sterling and Pulisic so early.
“It’s difficult for the time being I must admit and I feel for the boys,” he stated.
“We need to stick together. It become disappointing to lose those guys however the gamers at the pitch and the ones that came in gave the whole lot and that’s all you could ask for.”