Manchester City met Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening in a clash which is bound to have repercussions in the title race come the end of the season, and it was a former player who came back to haunt the home side as Kevin de Bruyne’s superb finish proved the difference.
In truth, City could and perhaps should have been further ahead come the final whistle as they enjoyed significantly more chances and possession. Here are the three key talking points from the tie…
Manchester City have what it takes to win the league
Pep Guardiola and his team have been backed as one of the favourites to win the Premier League this season, and at Stamford Bridge they showed why with a superb display which saw them dictate the tempo and pin Chelsea back to their own half. Even on the turf of the reigning champions, they were by far and away the better side.
However, despite dominating play with 62% possession and 12 shots compared to Chelsea’s four, their expected goal tally was just 1.0. With Sergio Aguero sidelined with broken ribs, City may feel concerned by the fact that they could not secure a more convincing score line on Saturday evening.
Chelsea’s set-up isn’t invincible
Chelsea may well have defended strongly, denying Pep Guardiola’s side the opportunity to run away with the game. However, they did little else and at times struggled to get on the ball at all, let alone out of their own half.
N’Golo Kante had a rare anonymous game, whilst both Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas were wasteful in possession and there was little threat up-front after Alvaro Morata was forced off through injury. After beating Atletico Madrid in mid-week, this result will have brought Antonio Conte down to earth with a bump.
Fabian Delph could be an important player for Pep Guardiola
Benjamin Mendy’s injury was seen as a major blow for the Citizens and it surprised many that it was not Danilo chosen to replace him, rather Fabian Delph. Recalled to the England squad after his recent return to the City team, Delph played as an inverted full-back on the left and impressed.
Disciplined defensively but happy to run forwards with the ball, Delph may have bought himself more time after seemingly having been on his way out of the Etihad in the summer. In his new found role, he could re-establish himself in Guardiola’s starting line-up for some time to come.