Chelsea complete stunning comeback to defeat Manchester City at away
Chelsea travelled to the Etihad to play Manchester City on Saturday in what was an entertaining clash at the top of the Premier League table.
Chelsea made a surprise inclusion of Cesc Fabregas to the side, replacing an injured Nemanja Matic. The rest of the side remained unchanged from the same lineup that had won seven league matches in a row.
Thibaut Courtois started in goal. Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, and Gary Cahill made up the three defenders. Marcos Alonso provided an option out wide on the left, as did Victor Moses on the right. Cesc Fabregas and N’golo Kante were charged with holding down the midfield and Pedro, Diego Costa, and Eden Hazard made up the attacking options.
The decision to make the one change paid off as Fabregas assisted Diego Costa fifteen minutes into the second half for Chelsea’s first goal of the match. Prior to that goal, Manchester City led 1-0 through a Gary Cahill own goal. Manchester City continued to pile on the pressure in the second half following their goal just before the break.
Four minutes into the second half, Pedro made way for Willian in a like-for-like swap.
After Diego Costa’s beautiful take down and composed finish, Chelsea dominated the game. Another beautiful counter-attack resulted in a goal when the ball was played to Diego Costa who turned brilliantly to play Willian through on goal. Willian used his pace to get past Aleksandar Kolarov and easily put the ball past Claudio Bravo at his far post with twenty minutes to play.
Twenty minutes after that, Nathaniel Chalobah broke up a Manchester City attack to find Marcos Alonso who sent the ball up the field to Eden Hazard. Hazard this time used his pace to get past the City defence and found the back of the net at the near post with a cool finish.
In the final minutes of stoppage time, Sergio Aguero was sent off for an ugly challenge on David Luiz which saw benches clear and Manchester City receive two red cards. Aguero for the initial tackle at David Luiz’s knee and Fernandinho for putting his hands to Fabregas’ neck before shoving him over an advertising board. Aguero’s red card was his second of the season so he now faces being sidelined for four domestic matches.
Chelsea’s Diego Costa was voted as the Man of the Match on Twitter by Chelsea’s official Twitter account.
This was Chelsea’s eighth win in a row following the formation switch to the 3-4-3 and sees them stay at the top of table with a three-point cushion over second placed, local rivals Arsenal. Next Sunday, The Blues host West Bromwich Albion, hoping to make it nine league wins in a row.
Sky Sports conducted a post-match interview with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and asked his thoughts on Cesc Fabregas’ performance. The Italian told: “He played a good game, not easy, not easy this game. His last game was against Arsenal and today he played a good game with good personality and I’m very happy. But I know that I can always count on him.”
Again, the incident at the end of the match was an immense talking point despite the open, high goal-scoring affair. When asked about the incident, Eden Hazard deflected his thoughts to other areas of the game saying: “I don’t know; I was on the bench. I don’t want to talk about this, I want to talk about football.”
According to ESPNFC, the key match stats were as follows:
Chelsea – Manchester City
Goals: 3 – 1; Possession: 39 – 61; Shots (on target): 10(4) – (5)14; Fouls: 9 – 14; Offsides: 1 – 2; Yellow Cards (Red Cards): 3(0) – (2)2; Corners: 2 – 9; Saves: 5 – 1
Chelsea Player Ratings:
Courtois – 8, Azpilicueta – 7.5, Luiz – 9, Cahill – 7, Moses – 8, Fabregas – 8.5, Kante – 8, Alonso – 6.5, Pedro – 7, Costa – 9.5, Hazard – 8.5, Willian – 9, Chalobah – 8, Batshuayi N/A