The loss sends City into fourth place on the table, as Liverpool passed them with a 2-2 draw against AFC Bournemouth. However, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also gained on the Sky Blues with wins on their own matches. Now City are stuck in a top-four race for the ages.
Let's take a deeper look on how City did in this game.
Many critics argued that Willy Caballero should be the scapegoat for his supposed blunder on Chelsea's first goal, but I disagree. Yes, he could’ve saved the shot, but it’s hard to adjust to a deflection (from Vincent Kompany's head) in a split second. Just a bit of bad luck on the first goal.
However, the second goal was inexcusable, and it was not Caballero's fault. The blame is on Fernandinho, who needs to have the judgement to not make that tackle in the box, and the foul was definitely not his shining moment of the season. Caballero almost bailed him out with his penalty heroics, but he couldn’t send the shot wide, and Eden Hazard walked away with a game-winning brace.
The biggest disappointment of the match was John Stones, but it wasn't for his defensive performance, which was quite good, but for his failure to score from two clear cut opportunities. Stones needed to convert at least one of the two chances, no matter the circumstances. Jesús Navas and Gaël Clichy seems to be an interesting full-back duo, but neither managed to do much on this game.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to start Fabian Delph was definitely the most shocking choice of the night, but Delph was actually phenomenal. Especially with his lack of playing time this season, Delph’s impact in the midfield was essential to City’s domination in midfield against Chelsea.
But the performances from three of his teammates (Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Leroy Sané) were quite underwhelming. Neither made much of a positive impact on the match, and their presence on the pitch didn't add anything to City's overall game.
The shining light of the midfield was once again David Silva, without a doubt. He finished with six key passes and created Sergio Agüero’s goal in the first half. Without the valiant efforts of City’s midfield maestro, the team would’ve ended up scoreless.
Sergio Agüero had a solid game of his own, scoring City’s lone goal off the rebound of Silva’s shot. It was his tenth goal in his last 10 games, and he could done more if it wasn’t for an amazing game from Thibaut Courtois. Agüero had 4 shots, three of those on target, and completed 93% of his passes on the night.
However, the attacking efforts of City were just unacceptable. With big chances missed from Sané and Stones, the Citizens are struggling to finish in a Top-4 again. This must change.