A victory for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola left the field smiling, but he has to deal with injury worries as the League is gradually entering into a critical phase…..

 

Jurgen Klopp’s men just don’t know how to lose a match. They have made winning a habit. No matter in which situation they are, the Reds know very well how to pull the match out of the fire. The match against Crystal Palace was another close-shave, but Klopp’s Iron-Men bagged full points at the fag end of the match. That victory against Palace made Pepe Guardiola’s job even more difficult and a victory against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea was a must. And Manchester City did not disappoint. Had City not won last night’s encounter against the Blues, the margin in the points table would have been near-insurmountable.

Chelsea last lost in the league two months ago – against Liverpool – and arrived on a run of six successive wins. While two Sundays ago, Liverpool had gunned own Guardiola. A must-win for both. The build-up was terrific and what required was a top-quality display on the pitch to fulfill the wishes of fans.

And, the match did not disappoint. High-quality football was evident and who else but the boys for City showed, why they still can’t be written off. When Sergio Aguero slid the ball past the Chelsea defence to Kevin de Bruyne, who raced like a Hare to shot the ball past the right post of  Kepa Arrizabalaga, one could feel the intent of City. They took the stage tos et it on fire.

But N’Golo Kante upset City with an early strike and since that goal was scored, the match was all about City’s pressing and advancing forward to keep the Blues at bay. They flooded forward and in each minute they were turning the contest into a frantic affair.

For a while, Chelsea’s triangular passes inside City’s half created headaches for Pepe, but when Fernandinho intercepted a Jorginho ball near half away – Kevin de Bruyne took over. Kante was canceled. The ball rolled to left and then to right. De Bruyne’s shot beat Kepa and City were back in top-gear.

Then, Riyad Mahrez took it to the next level of excellence –  he started off a diagonal run at Pulisic and Emerson, swerving between them and scripting a photo finish. The lead was earned and it could have been turned worse for Chelsea if Aguero did not miss when Kepa gifted him the ball.

City’s attacking intent continued in the second and should have scored at least two more goals. In the end, the full points were achieved.  Lampard’s team was brave and earned the accolades by limiting the champions to 46.7% possession despite the defeat – the lowest of the Catalan’s 381 top-flight matches as a manager.

Kevin de Bruyne was brilliant and took the responsibility of leading from the front. His daring runs from the right and then to centre helped to orchestrate attacks. They all are busy with Eden Hazard, but somehow, forget the value of de Bruyne, who is the real nucleus of Belgium and City. A genuine superstar and baller, but very much underrated.

The match ended with worries for Pep. He could be without Sergio Agüero for some of the “toughest part of our season” after the Argentinian suffered a suspected muscle injury. Rodri and David Silva also had to be replaced but Guardiola put this down to cramping.

 

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