Manchester City sprung to life in the second half of a crucial match against Chelsea FC to secure all three points and close the gap on league leaders Arsenal. Sky Blue News has all the latest from yesterday's triumph at Stamford Bridge.
If the game started to warm up before half-time, it got even livelier after the restart with Pep Guardiola making a double change during the break - Rico Lewis and Manuel Akanji replacing Cancelo and Walker.
City were quick out of the blocks and almost found an opener in the 50th minute when De Bruyne’s deep cross picked out Ake, but his header came back off the post.
De Bruyne then fired a low shot that was kept out by Arrizabalaga and hit another just off-target from close range.
Guardiola then made another two changes with Mahrez and Grealish and just over two minutes later they combined for the opening goal.
One where City was in control with possession and chances created. They played a similarly chance filled second half and this time it was a Grealish - Mahrez connection that secured the win
City had so many players who played well and did take the win in the end
Two others of note, John Stones and Manuel Akanji.
The story of the night is that City win away in the PL and now stand 5 points off leaders, Arsenal.
It’s a nice win and we move with a clean sheet.
Quick Match Recap: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea https://t.co/SDd0FwXHTX— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) January 5, 2023
Arsenal’s draw at home to Newcastle on Tuesday opened the door for the second-placed defending champions to reduce the deficit and, after a below-par first half, City eventually ramped up the pressure in the second period and broke through when two subs combined, with Riyad Mahrez tucking in Jack Grealish’s low cross (63).
Carney Chukwuemeka had struck a post on 44 minutes for Chelsea but Nathan Ake headed against the frame of the goal for City soon after the restart and the visitors deservedly went on to claim a fourth win in a row against Chelsea since losing the Champions League final to them in 2021.
Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez come off the bench and make an immediate impact for the visitors
There was no goal for top scorer Erling Haaland at Stamford Bridge but that’s the 11th time in a row City have won their first Premier League game of the year and this one sets them up for another title charge in 2023.
Man City player ratings vs Chelsea as John Stones and Riyad Mahrez excellent - Tyrone Marshall - Manchester Evening News
Played like a sweeper in the first half and produced a last-ditch tackle on Pulisic that was Beckenbauer-esque. Moved to the right when Akanji came on, but excellent throughout. 8
Struggled a little in the first half as Aubameyang and Ziyech overloaded on him at times, but better after the break and was dominant aerially once again. 7
Link-up with Walker down City’s right looked strangely out of sync and one heavy pass put Chelsea into a good attacking position. Subbed at half-time. 5
The Stamford Bridge fixture started with a cagey first half showing between the two Blue sides with chances coming far and few in between, leaving the opponents heading down the tunnel drawing at the break.
Thankfully the second half was far more interesting with a goal finally coming from the bench of all places as substitute Riyad Mahrez gave City the lead, which proved to be the match-winning goal.
The result means City move to within five points of league leaders Arsenal, as they search for what would be their fifth Premier League title in just six years.
Riyad Mahrez nets winner as Manchester City overcome Chelsea at Stamford Bridge - Matt Law - Sports Mole
Riyad Mahrez came off the bench to score the only goal of the match, with the Algeria international finding the back of the net in the 63rd minute, converting a cross from fellow substitute Jack Grealish.
Second-placed Man City have moved to within five points of Arsenal, while Chelsea remain down in 10th, 10 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United on the same number of games (17).
The two teams will again lock horns on Sunday afternoon, with Pep Guardiola’s side hosting the Blues in the third round of the FA Cup.
RESULT: Manchester City move to within five points of leaders Arsenal in the Premier League table courtesy of a 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. More: https://t.co/Xu41k1dXqo— Sports Mole (@SportsMole) January 5, 2023
And finally... What this guy said.
Guardiola galaxy brains Manchester City fans and Chelsea as he achieves coaching divinity - Matthew Stead - Football365
Guardiola’s first four substitutions had one thing in common: control. That is what Manchester City wrestled back with those changes. They offered more balance, more rhythm, better structure. Bringing “so sexy” Kalvin Phillips on for Rodri was just the Spaniard taking the piss.
That rather underplays the role Chelsea had in this game. They were very good, much more positive and competent than in the draw against Nottingham Forest. Graham Potter lost Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic to early injuries but Carney Chukwuemeka was excellent and Mateo Kovacic thrived alongside the wonderful Denis Zakaria in midfield. The hosts had their chances but there remains no-one who can reliably take them. Particularly not when John Stones is about.
This was, in some ways, their most promising performance under Potter yet.
But Guardiola often operates in a different coaching stratosphere to his contemporaries and on Thursday evening he claimed both the moral and literal victory. It’ll be his way only from now on, which is no bad thing for a four-time champion in a title race.
Pep Guardiola just sacrificed an entire first half of Premier League football to stick it to Manchester City Twitter and still keep touch in the title race.https://t.co/bNwC3FcHfg— Football365 (@F365) January 5, 2023
There you have it Cityzens. The Sky Blues are headed back to the Etihad to once again face their rivals from London. This time they match up in the FA Cup. Stay with us at Bitter and Blue for all the latest.