Chelsea March On!
On a Premier League Wednesday night, the fans were treated to a series of exciting fixtures involving the current top five teams in England (We’re looking at you Manchester United).
Chelsea hosted Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in what promised to be a crunching game.
After losing last game, Chelsea had to get back to winning ways in order to maintain their recently reduced lead of seven points at the top of the Premier League, while Manchester City under the guidance of Guardiola tried to hang on to their endangered hopes of Champions League football next season. Needless to say, the buildup to the game was tense, as the pre-game interviews of coaches and players involved a few eyebrow raising comments. Nevertheless, as the clock turned 8 in London, press releases were put on hold. It was time for the game to do the talking.
Chelsea took the field with their strongest starting eleven. Having lost Moses to a calf injury, Cesar Azpilicueta had to fill in for him at right wing back, which left one position open for contention in the usual Conte back three. The backline involved the ever reliable Cahill, David Luiz as the middle center back and Kurt Zouma as right center back, as he got the nod ahead of Ake. After a long recovery period from injury, Zouma seems to be regaining the coache’s trust gradually. At left wing back, Marcos Alonso took up his usual spot. The midfield held a small surprise, as Fabregas partnered Kante in the middle of the pitch as Matic started the game on the bench. The front three were the usual culprits that tormented so many defenses this season, Costa in the middle, flanked by Pedro on the right & Hazard on the left.
Manchester City’s line up had Caballero in goal, Clichy at left back, Stones & Kompany as center backs, with Jesus Navas making a surprise appearance as right back. In the middle Fernandinho was partnered by the so often forgotten man, Fabian Delph. The front three was a more classical one, as Silva took his usual spot as central attacking mid, flanked by De Bruyne on the right & the young Sane on the left. In the center, Aguero spearheaded the attack.
CFC 1-0 Man City
The game got off to a nervy start, as both teams kicked off with a clear intent to get out and grab the results by the scruff of the neck. It only took 10 mins for the first goal to come. Chelsea had some delightful play on their right hand side, some slick passing saw the game land at Hazard’s feet inside the box, as the little Belgian fired a powerful shot that haplessly passed Caballero’s feeble attempt to block it and lodged itself into the net.
CFC 1-1 Man City
Nevertheless, it would only take Aguero sixteen minutes to level the score. The Chelsea right flank struggled to handle some incisive passing play by Manchester City that saw Courtois dropping low to turn away a shot on his right, only for the rebound to luckily fall at Aguero’s feet who would not make any mistake in finishing the move.
CFC 2-1 Man City
The first half failed to disappoint, as the 34th minute saw some controversial City play awarding Chelsea a penalty. Hazard stepped up and nonchalantly shot to the left of Caballero, the city keeper saved the penalty, nevertheless, the rebound fell to a grateful Hazard, who despite missing once, wouldn’t make the same difference from barely six feet out. After that, and until the end of the half, Manchester City had the lion’s share of possession, trying their best to go into half-time tied, but it wasn’t to be.
The second half was significantly less eventful, Manchester City charged forward time and time again, controlling possession, testing Chelsea’s determination & defending, but failing time and time again to find the equalizing goal. Nolito & Raheem Sterling would both come on for Leroy Sane & Kevin De Bruyne respectively, in the hope of threatening Courtois’ goal. Throughout the game, the Belgian stopper would save six of the seven shots on target as Manchester City thoroughly out-shot Chelsea, but were left with nothing to show for their efforts at full time.
Finally, After a late yellow card for Kante in the 93rd minute, the referee declared the end of the game as Chelsea maintained their lead in the English Premier League, as Manchester City start feeling the pressure of maintaining a top four position in order to qualify for next year’s Champions League.
Final Score: CFC 2-1 Man City
Thoughts on the game? Let us know what you think, who was your man of the match?