Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian

9.08pm GMT

Reaction and analysis

Related: Kevin De Bruyne’s flash of old-school magic leaves Chelsea spellbound | Barney Ronay

Related: City players’ dedication to winning is more valuable than title, says Guardiola

2.50pm GMT

David Hytner was at the Etihad, and his report has landed. Clickity click! Thanks for reading this MBM.

Related: Kevin De Bruyne fires Manchester City 13 points clear of toothless Chelsea

2.47pm GMT

A smiling Pep Guardiola is asked by BT if his side deserved their win. “Absolutely. The way we played, everything we have done. We can not forget we played the European champion, they are incredible. You try to find spaces, but they are not there. They were waiting for a transition to punish us, but we won from a transition. We created enough chances. The team were incredible, brilliant. We won, what we have done, we have won it together. Kevin De Bruyne is world class but humble with the humility to do everything for the team. I want more of him, because I know he can do it. I am so satisfied for him. He has everything. He knows what he can do. His mum and dad have to be so proud.”

2.43pm GMT

“If City keep winning every game, nobody can catch them.” On that subject, their next three matches are against Southampton, Brentford and Norwich, three teams in the bottom half of the table. It might be prudent for Chelsea and Liverpool to concentrate their hopes and dreams on the cups.

2.40pm GMT

Thomas Tuchel is happy with his defenders, not so chuffed with his attackers, telling BT: “The result is disappointing, but this can happen when you play at City. I thought we deserved a draw, we defended very well. We did not allow big chances. We were not under so much pressure. Performance wise, this is OK. The commitment, I am absolutely OK. A draw would be a fair result but we don’t have it. We have won games like this against City, so it feels very different! We had eight or nine offensive transitions, but had zero touches in the box. That was a big problem today, the performance of our front players. A lack of position, timing and composure. We lost too many balls too easily. Romelu Lukaku sometimes needs to do the service, he is included in this, he had many ball losses in very promising circumstances, he had a huge chance. Of course we want to serve him, but he is part of the team, and the performance up front, we can do much better. We will never give up, but if City keep winning every game, nobody can catch them.”

2.32pm GMT

Kevin De Bruyne talks to BT. “It’s a big game. They had a very good plan and were tight defensively but we played a pretty good game and it was nice to score the goal. The team played well. We knew if we won today we’d make the gap bigger, but we don’t have to look at that. We’ve been in this situation before, and a lot of things can change, the momentum can swing quickly. There is another team dangling there. We can only try to win our games, and that is it.”

Updated at 2.33pm GMT

2.29pm GMT

That’s City’s 12th successive Premier League win. Chelsea by contrast have only won one of their last six, and so the top of the table looks like this:

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Man City 22 41 56
2 Chelsea 22 28 43
3 Liverpool 20 34 42
4 West Ham 21 12 37
5 Arsenal 20 8 35

It’s probably fair to say the title is now City’s to lose. Chelsea’s race certainly looks run. Liverpool could put a little bit of pressure on the champs by winning both of their games in hand, but even then they’d also need to beat City at the Etihad in April, and still hope Pep Guardiola’s relentless team somehow misplace their mojo. An awful lot of variables there, and you wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

2.22pm GMT

FULL TIME: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea

Manchester City go 13 points clear of Chelsea at the top, thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s wonder strike!

2.21pm GMT

90 min +3: Walker trundles a cross through the six-yard box from the right. Jesus can’t quite reach it, not that it’s likely to matter.

2.20pm GMT

90 min +2: Rudiger launches long. City mop up with ease. Lukaku can’t get a sniff.

2.19pm GMT

90 min +1: Kante rolls a simple pass out of play for a throw to City. Chelsea’s race looks run, in more ways than one.

2.18pm GMT

90 min: Alonso whips a pass down the right in the hope of releasing Werner. The striker, not for the first time in his career, has gone way too early, and the flag goes up. There will be three extra minutes.

2.17pm GMT

88 min: Another long pass in Lukaku’s direction. Ederson races out of his box to head clear. The City fans enjoyed that. They’re also appreciative of Foden, who receives a warm ovation as he departs, to be replaced by Jesus.

2.14pm GMT

86 min: Grealish sashays down the left and creams a shot goalwards from a tight angle. Kepa does extremely well to parry, then acrobatically stops the ball going out for a corner. If there’s to be another goal, this is much more likely to end 2-0 than 1-1.

2.13pm GMT

84 min: De Bruyne is replaced by Gundogan.

2.12pm GMT

83 min: Sterling romps down the right and feeds Foden, who larrups over the bar from the edge of the box. Not so far away.

2.11pm GMT

82 min: Mount tries to release Lukaku but only manages to sail the ball straight through to Ederson. On the touchline, Tuchel throws his arms wide, striking the internationally recognised pose for Why Do I Bother?

2.09pm GMT

81 min: Chelsea’s title hopes are fast disappearing down the swanny, so it’s time for one last throw of the dice. On comes Mount - strange that we’ve not seen him earlier - for Alonso.

2.08pm GMT

80 min: Silva goes sliding in on Alonso, out on the left. Free kick, and a chance to load the box. Hudson-Odoi takes, and sends a strange flat delivery into the area. Easy for De Bruyne to clear. Incredibly poor.

2.07pm GMT

79 min: Azpilicueta finds a bit of space down the right and fires a low cross into the mixer. Ederson flops on the ball calmly, despite plenty of Chelsea presence.

2.06pm GMT

78 min: Foden barrels down the middle of the park. He’s got Sterling to his right. One pass, and he’d be free. But Silva gets in the road to put a stop to Foden’s notions. Fine last-ditch defending.

2.05pm GMT

76 min: City knock it around in a mellow style. They’ll be feeling very good about themselves right now.

2.02pm GMT

74 min: Relief for City as De Bruyne is almost immediately back up and running.

2.02pm GMT

73 min: The goalscorer De Bruyne is down, holding his left ankle. On comes the trainer.

2.01pm GMT

72 min: Chelsea try to hit back immediately. Alonso swings in from the left. Azpilicueta, at the far post, cuts back for Werner, who slams straight at Laporte from six yards. A fine block.

1.59pm GMT

GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea (De Bruyne 70)

De Bruyne battles his way past Kante into space down the left, glides infield, uses Silva as a shield, and curls a gorgeous shot around the defender and into the bottom right. Kepa, at full stretch, had no chance. What a goal! A goal that takes City ever closer to the title. They’ll be 13 points clear!
Kevin De Bruyne makes the breakthrough. Photograph: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

Updated at 2.02pm GMT

1.57pm GMT

69 min: Chelsea make a double change, replacing Pulisic and Ziyech with Werner and Hudson-Odoi.

1.57pm GMT

68 min: Lukaku is robbed by Rodri, who sends Sterling racing down the inside-right channel. Sterling enters the box, uses Sarr as a shield, and drags a shot across Kepa and inches wide of the left-hand post.

1.55pm GMT

67 min: Lukaku battles for a header but can’t get anything on target. No panic for City.

1.54pm GMT

66 min: A rare period of Chelsea possession results in a free kick just inside City territory. Kovacic hits it long for Alonso, who wins a corner out on the left. Ziyech will take.

1.52pm GMT

64 min: De Bruyne hits it deep. Foden shapes to volley spectacularly, only to have the ball taken away from him by his own team-mate Silva. Howls of frustration echo around the Etihad. Chelsea clear their lines.

1.51pm GMT

63 min: De Bruyne curls powerfully towards the top left. Kepa is behind it all the way, and palms over for a corner on the left. De Bruyne will take that, too.

1.51pm GMT

62 min: Grealish shakes his hips to get past Azpilicueta, and is about to enter the box when he’s clipped by the Chelsea man. A free kick to the left of the D. De Bruyne’s eyes light up.

1.49pm GMT

61 min: Silva dribbles down the inside-right channel with purpose, reaching the byline before attempting a cutback for Sterling. The ball takes a deflection and rolls softly into the arms of Kepa.

1.47pm GMT

59 min: Kovacic tries to release Lukaku down the middle, but clumsily clanks the pass straight through to Kepa. He has the good grace to apologise to his team-mate, who had made a promising run.

1.45pm GMT

57 min: City force a corner down the right. Foden takes, and whips it towards the near post. Azpilicueta flashes a header behind for another corner. That was very close to an own goal. Chelsea’s captain does better with take two, heading firmly clear.

1.44pm GMT

55 min: Sterling drops a shoulder and dribbles into the box from the right wing. He squeezes between Alonso and Kante and goes over. He wants a penalty, and he might have had a case, had Silva not been caught offside in the build-up.

1.42pm GMT

53 min: Walker is clipped by Kovacic, 25 yards from goal. A free kick, just to the right of centre. It’s a dangerous position, but De Bruyne weakly floats an uncharacteristically dreadful chip straight into Kepa’s arms.

1.40pm GMT

52 min: Grealish fizzes a low cross through the Chelsea six-yard box from the left. The box is full of defenders, but no attackers, and flies harmlessly away from danger.

1.39pm GMT

51 min: City ping it hither and yon, but Chelsea hold their line on the edge of the box. There’s no way through.

1.38pm GMT

49 min: Lukaku plays a cute ball around the corner, and looks to have sent Ziyech free down the left. But Walker turns on the jets to intercept. What acceleration!

1.36pm GMT

47 min: City immediately get back into their pass-and-move groove. De Bruyne slips into space down the left and whistles a low ball into the box. Sterling stretches to meet but doesn’t get there. He’s lightly tugged by Alonso. City want a penalty, but they’re not getting one. Chelsea go straight up the other end, Kovacic releasing Lukaku down the middle. He’s one on one with Ederson. The keeper wins the battle with a fine parry. The ball breaks to Ziyech, who lashes over the bar. Quite the end-to-end start to the second half!
Romelu Lukaku tests Ederson. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Updated at 1.43pm GMT

1.33pm GMT

City get the second half underway. No changes.

1.19pm GMT

Half-time entertainment. Meanwhile at the other end of the table ...

Related: Ranieri says Watford are ‘ready to fight’ while Eddie Howe looks to Wood

1.17pm GMT

HALF TIME: Manchester City 0-0 Chelsea

Nothing happens during the bonus 60 seconds, and both teams troop off for their half-time oranges. It’s been tight and tense.

1.16pm GMT

45 min: There will be one extra minute.

1.15pm GMT

43 min: De Bruyne whistles a speculative shot over the bar from a tight position on the left. Chelsea could do with hearing the half-time whistle, even if they’ll be getting a strip torn off them by the manager soon after.

1.14pm GMT

42 min: In the technical area, Tuchel continues to give his team what for. He’s urging them to step it up, having been second best for the past 20 minutes or so. His half-time team talk promises to be spectacular.

1.12pm GMT

41 min: Pulisic slides in on Cancelo, who accidentally stands on his leg. No serious damage done, although Pulisic felt it, so no booking.

1.11pm GMT

39 min: City should be leading. Kovacic plays a blind pass infield from the left, and Grealish is suddenly one on one with Kepa! He tries to lift his shot over the keeper, but Kepa gets something on it, deflecting the ball wide right. Nothing comes of the resulting corner.
Kepa thwarts Grealish. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Updated at 1.20pm GMT

1.10pm GMT

38 min: Walker sends De Bruyne clear down the right. De Bruyne looks for Grealish in the middle. Rudiger hacks away, just in time. Then the flag goes up for offside, De Bruyne having gone far too early. Fine defending by Rudiger, nevertheless.

1.08pm GMT

37 min: Silva rolls a pass down the right for Sterling, who wins a corner off Sarr. Foden takes short. De Bruyne slams his cross straight into Azpilicueta, and that’s the end of that.

1.06pm GMT

35 min: Chelsea are struggling to get out of their final third now. City are dominating possession. Foden bursts down the left and rolls an inviting ball across the front of the Chelsea six-yard box. Nobody in sky blue has taken a gamble, and Alonso is able to calmly clear.
Phil Foden on the move. Photograph: Matt McNulty/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

Updated at 1.11pm GMT

1.04pm GMT

33 min: Rudiger heads the corner clear.

1.03pm GMT

32 min: Silva grooves in from the right and is hacked down by Kovacic, who follows Alonso into the book. A free kick in a dangerous position. Everyone lines up on the edge of the Chelsea box. De Bruyne takes and hits deep. Alonso batters it out for a corner.

1.01pm GMT

30 min: Tuchel indulges in some more highly strung jigging in his technical area. He’s not happy with his team at all, and urges his defence to push upfield.
Thomas Tuchel gets his point across. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Updated at 1.11pm GMT

12.59pm GMT

28 min: Azpilicueta strides into space down the right and feeds Pulisic. City are back pedalling in panic, but Pulisic inexplicably slows everything down, cuts back, exchanges passes with Azpilicueta, and is flagged offside. Chelsea keep making a mess of very promising situations.

12.58pm GMT

27 min: City stroke it around the back awhile.

12.56pm GMT

25 min: Cancelo chases after a loose ball down the left, then fires it low into the mixer. Rudiger does very well to block and clear, with plenty of sky blue shirts waiting to poke home from close range.

12.55pm GMT

24 min: Grealish feeds De Bruyne down the left. De Bruyne takes a whack from the left-hand corner of the six-yard box, but it’s an easy claim for Kepa.

12.54pm GMT

23 min: Silva drifts in from the right and nutmegs Sarr, nearly finding Sterling inside the box. Not quite, and the ball runs through to Kepa.

12.53pm GMT

21 min: Foden is robbed by Kovacic, who sends Ziyech into space down the left. Ziyech looks for Lukaku with a low cross, but it’s never finding him. Chelsea are causing City a few problems, although they’ve yet to achieve anything in the final third.

12.51pm GMT

19 min: Lukaku is finding some good positions, hovering around City’s defence, waiting for the long pass in the hope of breaking clear. He nearly spins Stones again, but the defender stands firm this time.

12.48pm GMT

17 min: Sterling dribbles into the Chelsea box from the right. Sarr comes across and crunches him with a perfectly judged tackle. Foden claims for a penalty, but it was a fine challenge. Nothing comes of the resulting corner.

12.47pm GMT

16 min: City pass and probe in the patient style.

12.46pm GMT

14 min: From the resulting corner, Stones heads straight at Kepa. Chelsea counter, and Ziyech has the opportunity to send Lukaku clear with a simple pass down the middle. He overhits woefully. Up pops Tuchel, beyond livid, effing and jeffing at his player’s lack of accuracy. That’s two big situations Chelsea have spurned already.

12.44pm GMT

13 min: Sterling takes on Alonso, much as expected, and crosses deep, looking for Grealish. Azpilicueta eyebrows away, just in time.

12.43pm GMT

12 min: Grealish nearly diddles Rudiger out on the left, but just as he gains a yard on his man, he runs it out for a goal kick. A few mistakes being made out there, with six points on the line, sort of.

12.42pm GMT

10 min: Chelsea should be leading. Lukaku spins Stones with absurd ease and romps towards the City box. He should enter the area and slam a shot goalwards, but tries to slip Ziyech clear instead with a pass down the inside-right channel. It’s a clumsy pass, and flies out for a goal kick. Why didn’t he shoot? City were all over the place at the back.
Lukaku leaves John Stones on his backside. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 12.46pm GMT

12.40pm GMT

9 min: Kepa very nearly has the ball taken off his toe by Foden. Not the most assured start for the Chelsea keeper.

12.39pm GMT

8 min: Nothing comes of the resulting free kick. Expect Sterling to do plenty of probing down the right flank now.

12.38pm GMT

7 min: Sterling skins Alonso down the right and is cynically clipped by the Chelsea left back. He goes in the book, and it’s going to be a long afternoon now.

12.37pm GMT

6 min: Walker has already given the ball away a couple of times. This is his first Premier League start since getting himself stupidly sent off against Leipzig in the Champions League, so he’ll be in the process of shaking off some rust.

12.36pm GMT

5 min: Kepa redeems himself by plucking the corner from the sky. No fuss this time.

12.35pm GMT

4 min: Yet another long pass, this time by Laporte down the left for Grealish. Kepa races out of his box to clear, but only manages to shin it into his own player, Azpilicueta. He’s fortunate that the resulting ricochet flies wide left of the unguarded goal. First corner of the match coming up.
Kepa makes a mess of an attempted clearance. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Updated at 12.40pm GMT

12.33pm GMT

2 min: ... and now De Bruyne nearly releases Silva down the left. Azpilicueta was on point and intercepts. A determined start by the champions.

12.32pm GMT

1 min: Stones plays a simple long pass down the middle and very nearly releases Sterling. Chelsea almost caught snoozing.

12.31pm GMT

Here we go, then. Chelsea get the ball rolling ... but only after everyone takes a knee. A gesture met with firm approval. There’s no room for racism.

12.27pm GMT

The teams are out. They’re blue, ba-da-be, City wearing sky, Chelsea royal. Anticipation and excitement crackling around the Etihad. We’ll be off in a couple of minutes!

12.14pm GMT

Thomas Tuchel has a word with BT. “Even if we had everybody available, it can never be a must-win game at the Etihad. Let’s respect what City is in the moment, they are very strong, and let’s be realistic about us, but we are up for the game and will try to find solutions to win. We will hunt them down and make them under-perform. There is a lot to do.”

12.10pm GMT

Pre-match entertainment. Here’s Barney Ronay on the special stuff that gives City their edge: extreme competence.

Related: Manchester City’s real magic ingredient? An absence of stupidity | Barney Ronay

12.03pm GMT

Pep Guardiola talks to BT Sport. “Thomas Tuchel changes the shape in many games, sometimes during games. They will be more aggressive than they were at Stamford Bridge, because he said that in the press conference! They will be more aggressive in their build-up, and in all departments. They have top quality up front. It is a huge challenge, they are European champions, we know that. But we will try to do a good performance and deserve to win.”

11.56am GMT

The state of play. Chelsea don’t quite need a miracle yet, but they do need a win. Should City prevail this lunchtime, you’d expect the Premier League trophy to stay put at the Etihad. Liverpool will presumably be watching with interest, more in hope than expectation.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Man City 21 40 53
2 Chelsea 21 29 43
3 Liverpool 20 34 42

11.51am GMT

This is, of course, a game between the champions of England and the champions of Europe. It’s also a replay of last year’s Champions League final. A reminder of that, should you require one, and/or fancy reliving it.

Related: Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea: 2021 Champions League final – as it happened

11.41am GMT

City make four changes to the starting XI sent out at Arsenal a fortnight ago. Kyle Walker, John Stones, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden return; Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus drop out.

Chelsea make five changes to the team named for the League Cup semi-final second leg against Spurs. Marcos Alonso, Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech take the places of Andreas Christensen, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Mason Mount and Timo Werner.

11.32am GMT

The teams

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Joao Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Sterling, Grealish, Foden.
Subs: Dias, Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus, Steffen, Fernandinho, Mbete-Tabu, McAtee, Lavia, Wilson-Esbrand.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Sarr, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso, Ziyech, Pulisic, Lukaku.
Subs: Jorginho, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Bettinelli, Saul, Barkley, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

11.30am GMT


In which Chelsea desperately try to keep the title race alive. Kick off is at 12.30pm. It’s on!

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