Manchester City put 13 points between them and second-placed Chelsea in the Premier League table with a brilliant win over Thomas Tuchel’s men thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliant goal.
City already led Chelsea by ten points, and have now effectively knocked them out of the title race with victory today. City were on top throughout, despite some dangerous Chelsea counter attacks, and earned three points thanks to De Bruyne’s sensational curling effort in the second half.
Guardiola had confirmed that City picked up more positive Covid cases in their squad this after an outbreak last week, but they were able to welcome back John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish to their starting XI. Aleks Zinchenko missed out with a knock, while Nathan Ake and Cole Palmer were not fully fit.
City’s 12th league victory in a row now means the Blues are in complete control of the title race, although Liverpool have two games in hand to try and reduce their 14 point gap.
Follow below for pre-match build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from the Etihad.
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FT – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
There’s the whistle!
There’s the full time whistle, and what a win that is!
City were the better side throughout, but it took a moment of genius from Kevin De Bruyne to separate the sides and surely knock Chelsea out of the title race.
Reaction, ratings and report to follow.
90′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Three minutes added
Chelsea are trying, but just can’t get a string of passes together. We’re into injury time.
87′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Second City change
Another standing ovation as Phil Foden comes off for Gabriel Jesus.
84′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
De Bruyne replaced
The Etihad rises to applaud Kevin De Bruyne, who is replaced by Ilkay Gundogan.
A pragmatic change, especially if De Bruyne has picked up a knock.
83′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
City managing possession
City are doing well to keep the ball, stretch Chelsea, and slow down their hopes of building some momentum.
Then, just as we know they can, they suddenly ramp up the speed, attack in numbers, and Phil Foden fires over after good work from Raheem Sterling.
80′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Final Chelsea chance
Marcos Alonso is off, with Mason Mount finally on for the visitors.
Back to a back four for Chelsea?
79′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
All or nothing for Chelsea
As it stands, Chelsea are going 13 points behind City and would need the Blues to drop points five times – at least – in the final 16 games to have a chance of winning the title.
They could really do with salvaging something from this game, and have just over ten minutes plus injury time to do so.
76′ – City 1-0 ChelseaSimon Bajkowski
‘Lukaku’s right, Chelsea’s s****’ being sung by the home fans. Chelsea supporters respond by waving their inflatable European Cups.
74′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
De Bruyne concern
The goalscorer goes down and stays down, but after a minute of treatment he’s back up and is able to continue.
72′ – City 1-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Chelsea immediately step things up
Werner has a shooting chance but Laporte blocks well in the area, and Chelsea are immediately looking to get back on terms.
As a result, City have had a couple of break-away opportunities as a result of the extra space.
68′ – City 1-0 ChelseaKEY EVENT
De Bruyne scores!
What a finish! That is a goal of the highest quality from Kevin De Bruyne.
He strides forward, shrugs off a challenge and bends a delicious effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to fire City ahead.
‘Championes’ echoes around the Etihad.
68′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Sterling fires wide
City break and Raheem Sterling has a shooting opportunity on the angle. He gets the shot away, but fires it across goal and out for a goal kick.
Pulisic and Ziyech are off for Chelsea, Werner and Hudson-Odoi are on.
65′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Tempo increases from City
This is better from City, who are pressing Chelsea again and forcing mistakes. The crowd respond with ‘Blue Moon’, and Chelsea respond by preparing to bring on Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
63′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
De Bruyne tests Kepa
Kevin De Bruyne shapes to cross the free kick, but swings it towards the near top corner and forces a save from Kepa.
62′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Good from Grealish
Jack Grealish drives into space towards the box and is sandwiched by Azpilicueta and Rudiger to win a free kick.
58′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Tempo slowed down
After a rapid start to the half, things have calmed down a bit now and the game is becoming a little scrappy, with misplaced passes and free kicks creeping into both sides’ performance.
Hopefully they’re just catchnig their breath before a big finish in the last half hour.
54′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Raheem Sterling goes down and surely must win a penalty, but the flag goes up for an earlier offside in the build-up.
53′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Players warming up
Gundogan, Dias and Jesus are warming up for City, while Mason Mount is on the sidelines for Chelsea.
51′ – City 0-0 ChelseaSimon Bajkowski
Chelsea much better
Chelsea have come out with real intent in this second half and now Guardiola is the more frustrated manager on the touchline.
City need to be at their best to keep Chelsea out but will also hope that the game opens up a bit more.
Grealish whips a tempting ball across the six yard box, but nobody is there again.
47′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Romelu Lukaku gets a break and tries to bend the ball around Ederson from the edge of the area.
The City keeper comes out quickly and pushes the effort away. Hakim Ziyech hits the loose ball well over.
46′ – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
Kevin De Bruyne whips in a ball towards Raheem Sterling on the six yard box.
He goes down, the fans appeal for the penalty, but a quick VAR check shows there was no claim.
HT – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
City’s gameplan is clear
Guardiola will inevitably have plenty of tactical observations, but the simple message will be ‘more of the same’, as City are relatively comfortable and the onus is on Chelsea to get a win.
On the balance of play so far, City can be confident more chances will come, and they must stay patient and take it when the opportunity arises. They can look to the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan off the bench if needed, too.
HT – City 0-0 ChelseaStuart Brennan
Half time ratings
Ederson – Virtually nothing to do. 6
Walker – Early rust, very aggressive. 7
Stones – Early error, calm since. 6
Laporte – His passing is key for City. 7
Cancelo – Great ball for Grealish. 7
Rodri – Dominating the midfield battle. 7
Bernardo – Some lovely skilful moments. 7
De Bruyne – Great pressing, decent passing. 7
Sterling – Giving Alonso nightmares. 8
Foden – Starting to look dangerous. 7
Grealish – Lurking presence, Had to score. 6
HT – City 0-0 ChelseaJoe Bray
City have had the better of the ball, and the better chances, but the score remains goalless at the break.
Chelsea are still a threat if they improve their final ball, while City know their chance will come if they continue their intensity. Jack Grealish’s big miss could be crucial.