As Manchester City prepare to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, we take a look at the blues last visit to West London, and a first half blitz that blew the hosts away, and spelled the beginning of the end for manager Frank Lampard.
The blues were unbeaten in ten matches, but sat in fifth place in the league, four points behind leaders Liverpool. The hosts were three points behind City in eigth, and, after an unbeaten run of 14 matches, the London blues had won one from their following five matches.
The match was City’s first in eight games, after their match at Everton had been postponed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at the City training facilities, and were without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson and Ferran Torres due to them quartet isolating.
City were playing for most of the season without a recognised striker, and faced Chelsea with a front three of Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden, and playing without a striker would once again prove not to be a problem for the goal hungry blues.
But they had to weather some early pressure from Chelsea and the blues were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Timo Werner looked like he had been upended by Rodri. N’golo Kante had won the ball deep in the City half and fed the German striker, and Rodri’s attempt looked just to have got a slight nick on the ball before Werner went to ground. The referee ignored the appeals and waved play on.
City then started to take control and when they scored in the 18th minute, it came as no surprise who the scorer was.
Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross from the left was flicked on by Foden, and goal machine Ilkay Gundogan turned his marker brilliantly, before firing into the bottom corner of the goal. It was stunning finish from the midfielder, who had taken on the goal-scoring responsibilities in the absence of Jesus and Sergio Aguero, who was on the bench.
And Chelsea soon found themselves two goals down as City attacked again three mnutes later. De Bruyne released Foden down the left and the midfielder charged forward, but was tackled on the edge of the box. De Bruyne picked up the loose ball and foudn Foden again, who had continued his run into the box, and the youngster flicked the ball past the keeper to send the blues clear.
Chelsea pressed to get back into the game, but with no real conviction, and in the 34th minute, City made it 3-0, and it was a goal that Chelsea couldn’t defend against. Not because it was such a great finish, but they literally had no defence.
Chelsea sent everyone up for a free kick and the last man was half way between the City penalty area and the centre circle, so when de Bruyne’s forward clearance found Sterling, the England man had the entire field to run into.
The winger almost made a complete hash of it as he attempted to round the keeper, and the chance looked to have gone begging as the home side got seven players back to defend. Sterling then took his shot, which cannoned off the post, but the rebound thankfully fell to de Bruyne, who took a touch to control before firing home.
The second half yielded few chances, however Mendy saved well from a Cancelo header that looked destined for the back of the goal.
Callum Hudson-Odoi pulled a goal back deep into injury time, but the damage had been done and the points were safe long before he slid the ball home.
Final score: Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City