Manchester City produced a ruthless attacking display to ease past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and increase the pressure on Blues manager Frank Lampard.
The visitors, who were without a number of first-team players following an outbreak of coronavirus at the club, stunned Lampard’s side with three goals in the space of 16 first-half minutes.
Ilkay Gundogan’s crisp low finish broke the deadlock before Phil Foden doubled City’s lead three minutes later, tucking a superb first-time strike beyond Edouard Mendy after fine work from Kevin de Bruyne.
The Belgian then deservedly got his name on the scoresheet with a close-range finish after Raheem Sterling’s curling strike had rebounded off the woodwork.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored in second-half stoppage time for Chelsea, firing Kai Havertz’s cross beyond Premier League debutant Zack Steffen.
The result lifts City up to fifth in the table, four points off Liverpool and Manchester United, and with a game in hand on both their rivals.
Chelsea, who would have gone top had they beaten Everton on 12 December, drop to eighth.
Depleted City show ruthless streak
This was City’s first game in eight days following the Covid-enforced postponement of their Premier League match with Everton on 28 December.
They were given the go-ahead to reopen their training ground this week but were without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia and Tommy Doyle for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Benjamin Mendy, who breached coronavirus regulations by hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner party, was one of only eight City substitutes in west London.
After a period of early Chelsea pressure, the visitors soon stamped their authority on the game and raced into a comfortable lead with two superbly taken goals.
Gundogan finished low into the far corner after turning Thiago Silva on the edge of the area, before Foden produced a magnificent finish from De Bruyne’s pass.
De Bruyne, who had earlier fired wide when a one-on-one with Mendy, made it 3-0 before Gundogan nearly added a fourth with a deft flick from Foden’s low ball.
The chances continued to flow in the second half as Rodri’s firm header forced Mendy into an excellent one-handed save, tipping the Spanish midfielder’s firm header over the crossbar.
At the other end, USA international goalkeeper Steffen was barely troubled until Hudson-Odoi’s late consolation.
No side has conceded fewer Premier League goals this season than City’s 13, but this scintillating display proves Guardiola’s side have not lost any of their attacking prowess.
Plenty to ponder for Chelsea and Lampard
Lampard admitted his side were going through a “tough spell” after being frustrated by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge last Monday.
Chelsea had collected only four points from five matches coming into this game, with their former striker Chris Sutton calling the Blues a “crisis club” following the 1-1 draw against Dean Smith’s side.
Based on this performance, that barren spell seems unlikely to end any time soon.
The hosts made a lively start but looked bereft of confidence once Gundogan had opened the scoring for the visitors.
Time and again, the hosts were sloppy in possession and could have lost by more as City unleashed wave upon wave of attacks.
Hudson-Odoi’s second goal of the season added a modicum of respectability to the scoreline, but it did little to mask the problems facing Lampard going into two big away games in the league – at local rivals Fulham and high-flying Leicester City.
More to follow.
- 6Thiago Silva
- 17KovacicBooked at 71minsSubstituted forHavertzat 77′minutes
- 7KantéBooked at 53minsSubstituted forGilmourat 64′minutes
- 22ZiyechSubstituted forHudson-Odoiat 64′minutes
- 10PulisicBooked at 45mins
- 3Rúben Dias
- 8GündoganSubstituted forFernandinhoat 75′minutes
- 20Bernardo SilvaBooked at 90mins
- 17De BruyneSubstituted forAgüeroat 86′minutes
- 47FodenSubstituted forMahrezat 86′minutes
Match ends, Chelsea 1, Manchester City 3.
Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Manchester City 3.
Goal! Chelsea 1, Manchester City 3. Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kai Havertz.
Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Bernardo Silva (Manchester City).
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Rúben Dias.
Substitution, Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez replaces Phil Foden.
Substitution, Manchester City. Sergio Agüero replaces Kevin De Bruyne.
Attempt blocked. Kai Havertz (Chelsea) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mason Mount.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by John Stones.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.
Attempt blocked. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Thiago Silva (Chelsea).
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Callum Hudson-Odoi with a cross.
Foul by Kai Havertz (Chelsea).
Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.