Last night saw Chelsea defeat outgoing champions; Manchester City, crowning their successors; Liverpool, in the process.
With Manchester United and Wolves both winning, Chelsea came into the encounter with a slender two-point lead over their nearest challengers. Leicester’s failure to win yet again also meant that Frank Lampard’s men could go within a point of the Foxes with a win.
On the other hand, the Citizens came into the game with only one objective; delaying Liverpool’s already inevitable coronation. Only a win would suffice.
The Blues made two alterations to the team that won at Villa Park. Christian Pulisic and Ross Barkley were both rewarded with starts after their impressive substitute appearances last time out.
City dominated the early stages of the game and looked more likely to open the scoring. Kepa had to be sharp to deny Fernandinho his first league goal of the season. As the clock ticked, Chelsea began to conjure up attacks of their own and their confidence grew. Barkley went close with a right-footed drive although the replay showed he was offside and it wouldn’t have counted anyway.
Five minutes past the half-hour mark, an error in communication between Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan afforded Christain Pulisic a chance to run through on goal. The American showed great composure to go past Mendy before coolly slotting home his seventh league goal of the season and his second in as many games since the restart. Manchester City couldn’t respond immediately and they ended the first half trailing.
However, parity was restored ten minutes after the restart. Ngolo Kante’s foul on Mahrez resulted in a free-kick about 30 yards out from goal. Kelvin De Bruyne once again came up with a moment of magic against his old club as he found the top corner majestically.
Two minutes later, the game was nearly turned on its head. A blistering counter-attack involving Ederson, De Bruyne, Jesus and Sterling was nearly finished off in style but the Englishman was denied by the upright.
Mason Mount then pounced on a loose clearance from the City goalie but he ended up hitting the side-net.
Another defensive lapse provided a golden chance to Pulisic who opted to go round Ederson this time out. His goal-bound effort was heroically cleared by Kyle Walker and Tammy Abraham was unable to force home the rebound.
A chaotic moment inside City’s box resulted in the game-deciding moment. Tammy Abraham’s effort was handled by Fernandinho who consequently received his marching orders. In the absence of Jorginho, Willian stepped up and finished emphatically from 12 yards to put Chelsea ahead again.
Pedro, who came on as a substitute, had the chance to put the icing on the cake but was denied by Ederson. The Blues resisted any City fightback in the closing stages to come away with a priceless three points.