Chelsea 0, Manchester City 1
Gabriel Jesus scored a deserved winner for Manchester City at Stamford Bridge as they beat title challengers Chelsea.Embed from Getty Images
City were at their impressive best as they mercilessly pressed a curiously passive Chelsea side who had beaten them three times last season to knock them out of the FA Cup and to win the Champions League in May.
Pep Guardiola might have raised eyebrows by not fielding a defensive midfielder in their Champions League final defeat to Thomas Tuchel’s side in May but it was the German coach’s turn to spring a tactical swerve in the lunchtime game.
Shielding a back five for the European Champions were three defensively minded midfielders in N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, and Mateo Kovacic.
And while they offered some protection to the defence it left Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner isolated.
And their plans were disrupted by an early injury to Reece James but by then City were already pressing the home side hard, leaving them with few options and no shots on target in the game.
City could have win the game more handsomely but had to settle for Jesus’ 53rd minute strike which took a wicked deflection off Jorginho to leave Edouard Mendy stranded.
The Brazilian wide forward – who occupied the tough Chelsea defence – could have had another when James’ replacement Thiago Silva cleared off the line, and his lively fellow forward Jack Grealish spurned the chance of a double strike himself as City would have run riot if the like of Aymeric Laporte had better finishing.
The margin of victory could certainly have been greater had City had the kind of marksman upfront that they have sought all summer but on this occasion they will savour a deserved victory which put them back into the top four.
MATCH STATS – Chelsea 0, Manchester City 1
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James (Thiago Silva 29), Kante (Havertz 60), Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek 76), Kovacic, Alonso, Lukaku, Werner
Chelsea subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Chalobah, Saul, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech
Booked: Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne (Mahrez 81), Jesus, Foden (Fernandinho 87), Grealish (Sterling 87)
Man City subs not used: Steffen, Stones, Ake, Torres, Palmer, Lavia
Booked: Dias, Laporte
Goal: Jesus 53
Referee: Michael Oliver