Sparkling City too good for Chelsea
Published on: January 03, 2021 10:42 (EAT)
Manchester City produced a ruthless attacking display to cruise past Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge and increase the pressure on 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 16 first-half minutes.Ilkay Gundogan’s crisp low finish broke the deadlock and 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. De Bruyne 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 lifted City up to fifth in the table, four points off Liverpool and Manchester United with a game in hand on both. 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 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 against Chelsea. Benjamin Mendy, who breached coronavirus regulations by hosting a New Year’s Eve dinner party, was one of only eight City substitutes. 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 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 over the bar. At the other end, City keeper Steffen was barely troubled until Hudson-Odoi’s late consolation. No side have conceded fewer Premier League goals this season than City’s 13, but this scintillating display proves Pep 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 on Monday. Former striker Chris Sutton called Chelsea a “crisis club” following the 1-1 draw against Dean Smith’s side, and they have now collected only four points from six matches. Based on this performance, that barren spell seems unlikely to end any time soon. Chelsea made a lively start but looked bereft of confidence once Gundogan had opened the scoring. Time and again, Chelsea 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 – at local rivals Fulham and third-placed Leicester City.