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Three talking points as Manchester City blew Chelsea away in their 1-0 win

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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.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Chelsea

Three key takeaways from Crystal Palace’s transfer window

The summer transfer window drew to a close on Thursday.

Max Cohen

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Palace
Photo: Getty Images

Crystal Palace finished deadline day with the last-minute confirmation of the loan signing of Jordan Ayew from Swansea City. The Eagles finished the window with four total signings, but only spent a total of £9.5 million.

The south Londoners made do with a tight budget and held on to their crown jewel Wilfried Zaha, resulting in a successful summer. Here are three things we learnt from Palace’s transfer business.

Don’t believe the tabloid hype

The Wilfried Zaha saga was perhaps the most drawn out transfer rumour of the entire window, and as many Palace supporters had expected, it was completely unfounded.

Despite the numerous claims that Zaha had rejected a contract, was eager to leave to a supposedly bigger club, or was itching to play Champions League football, the Ivory Coast international remained at Selhurst Park.

The winger still has four years left on his contract, has spoken publicly about his love for the club, and will again be crucial to Crystal Palace’s success this season. Still an Eagle, Zaha’s status reveals the sensationalist nature of many tabloids that aim to create unrest when none is present.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Doing business on a budget is difficult, but not impossible 

According to The Guardian, Palace’s transfer budget was restricted due to the high wages being paid to star players such as Mamadou Sahko and Christian Benteke. Yet, in the face of these barriers, the club managed to secure a number of canny deals at a low cost.

Ayew was brought in on loan, goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and midfielder Max Meyer were free transfers, and Cheikhou Kouyate was the only purchase of the summer at £9.5 million.

Four players of top quality for less than £10 million represents astute business, and Palace should be applauded for conducting decent deals on a shoestring budget.

(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s absence will be felt thanks to Chelsea‘s terrible transfer policy

Crystal Palace made it no secret that they were eager to bring Ruben Loftus-Cheek back to SE25 this summer, but unfortunately for both the club and player, Chelsea refused to let him leave.

On the face of it, it was an encouraging decision for Loftus-Cheek, as he would be finally handed consistent football at his parent club. Yet the loan signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid further pushes the England international down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, leaving many to wonder why Chelsea barred him from a return to Crystal Palace.

In the end, the Eagles will miss his presence in midfield and will undoubtedly be frustrated to watch Loftus-Cheek wasting away on the Chelsea bench.

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One to watch: Derby County’s 19-year-old midfielder Mason Mount

Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…

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Mason Mount
Photo: Getty Images

Mason Mount has arrived on loan at Derby County as a well-known quantity.

The Englishman spent a number of successful years in Chelsea’s youth academy, featuring under the Rams’ new assistant coach Jody Morris.

As a Blue, his progress has also been closely monitored by Derby’s new manager Frank Lampard, who was keen to bring Mount on loan after his stunning season in the Eredivisie with Vitesse.

Play Style

“He’s creative, plays from central midfield in an attacking sense, scores, and creates goals,” Lampard said after the announcement that Mount would be joining Derby on loan this season.

These characteristics will be important for Derby who will once again be chasing promotion this season.

Mount is a dynamic threat in an attacking midfield role.

His ability to make correct decisions in attacking transition phases should prove crucial in unlocking the potential of the array of forward-thinking talent Lampard has at his disposal.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The 19-year-old is always looking to take risks to advance the ball and play attackers in behind the defence.

Similarly, he ensures routinely accurate delivery from set-pieces and is capable of scoring from dead ball situations himself.

Depending on the formation Lampard will look to play at Derby, Mount could also be suited to play as a number eight – his ball-carrying quality is another one of his strongpoints that would be particularly useful in such a role.

Season Ahead

The 19-year-old has already proven his capabilities at senior level, but the Championship provides him with another chance to showcase his qualities to his parent club in a league with a different dynamic.

In saying this, Mount’s game should translate well to English football as it is not overly predicated on any particular style of football, nor is he reliant on a system being shaped around him. He is dynamic.

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Derby should target Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, hand him the number nine shirt

Derby County are set to embark on the dawn of a new era under the management of Frank Lampard.

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Photo: Getty Images

Sky Bet Championship outfit Derby County recently unveiled their squad numbers for the 2018/19 campaign, on their official website, and the obvious omission from the list was the void of a number nine

The Rams have signed five new players this summer and it was thought in some people’s eyes that big-money recruit Jack Marriott, who arrived from Peterborough United, might be handed the famous shirt number

Marriott has taken number 14 and it leaves those of a Derby persuasion with a a sense of suspicion that boss Frank Lampard might not be quite finished in the transfer market just yet.

Ipswich Town striker Martyn Waghorn has been heavily linked with a move to the East Midlands, but given the money that the Tractor Boys are wanting to recoup for their star attraction, the Rams might be better off looking elsewhere to bolster their attacking ranks.

Lampard has already raided his former club Chelsea this summer to sign highly-rated youngster Mason Mount and a return to Stamford Bridge to request another favour might be in the Derby boss’ best interests, when it comes to signing a new striker.

Striker Tammy Abraham is not expected to get much of a look in under new Blues’ boss Maurizio Sarri and another loan move away from London could be on the agenda for the man who spent last season on loan at Swansea City.

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

In netting five goals from his 31 Premier League appearances at the Liberty Stadium he hardly set the league alight, but it is the form he showed during a loan spell at Bristol City that should tempt the Derby boss into a move for the talisman.

During his season-long stint at Ashton Gate he netted 23 goals from 41 games and was named the club’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, demonstrating a devastating level of composure in front of goal at Championship level.

The Rams aren’t blessed with loads of pace when it comes to out-and-out strikers and Abraham’s youthful exuberance would make him a shrewd addition to Lampard’s new-look Rams squad, whilst a player of his ability would be more than worthy of wearing the number nine shirt.

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