Stunning Eden Hazard wins huge three points for Chelsea over Man City
Chelsea cruised into a huge 2-1 triumph over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, as Eden Hazard’s brace led Antonio Conte’s men to their second win over Pep Guardiola’s Citizens this season despite a first-half goal from Sergio Aguero.
A mouth-watering battle between Manchester City and Chelsea took place at Stamford Bridge, which was loud as ever, below the clear dark side.
A high-tempo start to the game was very much expected. Both teams looked threatening on the ball, with the hosts earning a slightly better portion of possession inside the first ten minutes.
Last game it only took five minutes for the Blues to score the opening goal, and tonight they only had to wait ten for Eden Hazard to break the deadlock!
A lovely bit of play between Azpilicueta and Pedro on the right edge of the box allows the Chelsea right-back to squeeze a lovely cut-back for Hazard, whose powerful shot is too strong for Willy Caballero to stop from going in!
One-nil for Chelsea after ten minutes of play, and the crowd goes bananas.
City didn’t like the situation at all and looked for a quick response. However, David Luiz and Kurt Zouma – who was named to the starting line-up for the first time since February 2016 – were well awake at the back providing important blocks from the likes of Fabian Delph and Sergio Aguero.
Chelsea came close for a second on the 21st minute of play as Hazard was set free on the left, playing Fabregas through for a shot on the edge of the box, but the Spaniard’s effort was deflected to the bar and over.
Thibaut Courtois, who enjoyed his 100th Chelsea appearance tonight, started the game brightly with a few great saves from Aguero and Fernandinho.
However, he went from hero to zero after 25 minutes of play, as his poor pass towards Cesc Fabregas with his weaker foot was easily intercepted by David Silva, who burst through into the Chelsea area shooting straight at the Belgian keeper, with Aguero getting his foot at the rebound before N’Golo Kante to tap in the equalizer. 1-1 City.
Courtois was all to be blamed for on the goal, but he did well to get his head straight and deny pacey Leroy Sane on a breakaway minutes after.
The game was wide open after both teams had scored their goals, and more was coming!
With ten minutes to go into the half-time whistle, Fernandinho makes a mistake taking slick Pedro down inside the area to leave Mike Dean without any other choice than blow a penalty for the Blues!
Facing Hazard from twelve meters out, Caballero guessed the right way saving the penalty from his left but failed to clear it to safety before the flying Belgian rushed for the rebound tapping in his second and regaining Chelsea’s lead. 2-1 after 35 minutes of play for the hosts, and Chelsea fans’ hearts kept facing a lot of tight action to take in.
A big topic ahead of the match was also the return of bitter rivals David Luiz and Sergio Aguero. Conte this week even stated that the Brazilian is still yet to completely recover from the Argentine forward’s horror tackle in December despite returning to action seemingly fully fit. Luiz got a nice – clean revenge on the City star striker before half-time whistle as he chased down Aguero on a run tackling him down well without breaking the rules of the game. The Chelsea fans obviously loved it!
After one minute of added time the first half came to a close in a delightful 2-1 lead for the Blues.
The second half kicked off with a Chelsea change, as Nemanja Matic came in to replace Kurt Zouma, allowing Fabregas to move up-field and taking Pedro down to the right wing-back’s position with Azpilicueta returning to the defensive trio.
An early Kante foul on Silva led to a dangerous set-piece effort for the visitors, as Kevin De Bruyne’s cross deep towards the Chelsea back post met Vincent Kompany’s head directing the ball to the bar and back in play. Lucky for Chelsea, they were able to clear before any concerning danger.
City were looking very dangerous right from the beginning of the second period, with David Silva their key player leading the attacking force towards Courtois’ posts. The growing possession of City kept threatening the Blues defence, but Chelsea held strong allowing them to cause problems from imminent counter-attacks.
City were dominant in the air on the second half, as John Stones got on top of Matic and Cahill a few times, forcing Courtois to action.
Chelsea enjoyed some better possession after 75 minutes of play and Eden Hazard was given a huge chance to kill the game for the Blues. A great cut-back from Pedro to the penalty spot area for the Belgian’s right couldn’t been any better, but he skied his hat-trick effort close to row Z, and Conte understandably was raging on the sidelines.
Guardiola made a big change after 78 minutes of play, bringing in Raheem Sterling to replace Kevin De Bruyne. At the same time Conte reacted by subbing on Willian, as off stepped Cesc Fabregas receiving a standing applause from the Blues fans for his crucial intervention in today’s game.
The hosts were enjoying some better phases of football again when the time on the clock took us to the last five minutes of the game. City were struggling to find the momentum they needed for the equalizer, and the Blues took advantage of that spending as much time on the ball as possible.
Blues fans also faced a heart-attack in double figures on the additional three minutes of play, as Aguero was close to equalize the game from Nolito’s world-class through ball towards the back post, eventually saved by Courtois.
The following corner saw Stones with a glorious chance from five feet out on goal, completely unmarked, but he was somehow able to tap it over the bar.
It was all over at the Bridge, and Chelsea claimed the full three points from the match that could’ve gone either way! City are most likely out of the title race now, and Antonio Conte’s men are in terrific position to secure the trophy for their own! COME ON CHELSEA!!