LONDON — Chelsea vs Manchester City was a tight, tense tactical battle which Pep Guardiola won, as he finally got one over Thomas Tuchel in the Premier League.
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A deflected effort from Gabriel Jesus in the second half was enough to hand City a statement win early in the season, as they jumped above Chelsea in the table.
City were the more dangerous side throughout as Chelsea were stagnant and struggled to create chances, as they suffered their first defeat of the season.
After three-straight wins against Man City at the end of last season, including in the Champions League final, Chelsea finally fell to the reigning Premier League champions.
Chelsea vs Manchester City final score, stats
Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City
Goals scored: (Gabriel Jesus 53′)
Shots: Chelsea 5, Manchester City 15
Shots on target: Chelsea 0, Manchester City 4
Possession: Chelsea 40, Manchester City 60
Three things we learned form Chelsea vs Manchester City
1. 3-5-2 stifles Chelsea’s creativity: Even though they were missing Mason Mount to knit midfield and attack together, it should not have looked this clunky for Chelsea. After switching from their favored 3-4-2-1 to a 3-5-2 to play Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic in midfield, it just didn’t work. They sat too deep and couldn’t keep the ball high enough up the pitch. The entire balance of the team was just a bit off.
2. Grealish stands tall: This is why they paid $137 million for him. In the second half Grealish took the game to Chelsea and after Reece James went off injured, he had the beating of Cesar Azpilicueta time and time again. With all eyes on Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne on their return to the starting lineup, it was Grealish who drove City on in a huge battle against title rivals.
3. Clear title favorites: The quality on display in this game showed that these two, the two Champions League finalists from last season, are in a class of their own. Sure, Liverpool and Manchester United can challenge for the title too, but this tight, tense tactical battle underlined that Chelsea and Man City are the clear title favorites this season. They’re both great at the back too, and that is always a recipe for success.
Man of the Match: Jack Grealish – Turned on the style in the second half and got City going.
Manchester City had plenty of the ball early on but didn’t do an awful lot with it.
Timo Werner then sprung a counter as he crossed for Lukaku, but the forward couldn’t get a clean shot on goal.
Reece James came off with an injury as Thiago Silva replaced him, as City continued to look more dangerous. Ruben Dias had a goalbound header cleared and Phil Foden’s cross was then blocked.
Before the break Gabriel Jesus controlled well but blazed over as City continued to look more comfortable.
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Jack Grealish whipped a shot just wide early in the second half, as Chelsea failed to get going at all.
Jesus then put City ahead, as a shot from the edge of the box was straight at him. The Brazilian forward managed to control brilliantly, then turn and his low shot deflected past Mendy and in.
Grealish then curled a shot inches wide as City threatened to kill the game off. Jesus was then denied by a superb goal-line clearance from Thiago Silva, but that seemed to wake Chelsea up.
Mateo Kovacic had a shot deflected wide after surging through and Romelu Lukaku grew into the game.
Aymeric Laporte sent an effort off a set piece wide and Mendy brilliantly denied Grealish, as City held on to their win to make a statement early in the season.