LONDON — Riyad Mahrez acquired here off the bench to internet a 63rd-minute winner as Manchester metropolis beat Chelsea 1-zero at Stamford Bridge on Thursday to close the hole on Premier League leaders Arsenal to 5 factors
Substitute Carney Chukwuemeka hit the put up in direction of the prime of a foremost half brief on goalmouth movement. simply after the hour mark, a flowing transfer ended with two metropolis substitutes combining as Jack Grealish‘s cross drifted shut to Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga however nonetheless found Mahrez for a faucet-in on the far put up.
The outcome leaves Graham Potter’s side languishing in tenth place inside the desk forward of the two sides meeting as quickly as extra in Sunday’s FA Cup third-spherical tie at Etihad Stadium.
1. metropolis not good however okay as Potter’s factors develop
Pep Guardiola claimed Manchester metropolis want to be “virtually good” to catch Arsenal on the elevated of the desk, however they had been nowhere shut to that on Thursday, but nonetheless minimize the deficit to 5 factors. metropolis seemed unusually disjointed inside the foremost half, taking better than half an hour to register their first shot of the sport — their longest wait in a Premier League sport since October 2018. maybe the stakes performed an component, or the sheer quantity of soccer since home play resumed following the World Cup, however metropolis hardly ever acquired out of second gear and but had been nonetheless in a place to inflict a fifth defeat in eight video games throughout all competitions on their hosts.
Potter isn’t beneath any imminent menace by method of his job, however Chelsea stay in tenth place, 10 factors behind fourth-positioned Manchester United. The membership’s new householders, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, have been adamant that Potter will in all likelihood be given time to stamp his authority on the squad, having solely been appointed in September, nonetheless the membership spent better than £270 million on summer season transfers, and as they put together to speculate closely as quickly as extra, a extra handsome return on that outlay will in all likelihood be anticipated. Chelsea have taken simply three factors in opposition to teams presently inside the best half of the desk.
2. harm factors mount for Chelsea …
Mason Mount was lacking from the starting lineup after choosing up a knock in teaching, and all by way of the foremost 22 minutes right here, Chelsea had two extra accidents to take care of as Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic limped off. Potter was on an everyday basis extra seemingly to rotate for Sunday’s FA Cup tie in opposition to the identical opponents, nonetheless the should relaxation gamers for the further Premier League fixture they want to squeeze in in opposition to Fulham subsequent Thursday will in all likelihood be heightened by the complete harm picture.
Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante are all already lacking, however at the very least Benoit Badiashile was inside the stands subsequent to Boehly right here, up so far from ending a €37m transfer from AS Monaco earlier inside the day. He is in all likelihood needed forward of ultimate at this price.
Chelsea are actively in search of to strengthen inside the January change window, persevering with talks with Benfica over midfielder Enzo Fernandez, and negotiations are anticipated to happen with Shakhtar Donetsk director of soccer Darijo Srna over a deal for winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The workforce’s current plight, mixed with the quantity of gamers absent, will solely heighten the stress on the membership to behave decisively on the market.
three. … as metropolis’s bench makes the distinction
There was a passing resemblance to the 2021 Champions League ultimate inside the foremost half as Guardiola was in hazard of overcomplicating his lineup as occurred that evening time in Porto. metropolis operated with a again three in possession as Joao Cancelo was utilised in an superior proper-sided function. Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne typically acquired here round to that flank in try and overload Chelsea, however better than something, the gamers seemed unable to get your hands on residence inside the type metropolis so typically handle elevated than anyone else.
in the end, Guardiola’s modifications labored the oracle as Manuel Akanji and Rico Lewis acquired here on on the interval to current metropolis elevated steadiness earlier than Grealish and Mahrez had been launched on the hour mark, combining for the worthwhile purpose simply three minutes later. There was even time for £45m signing Kalvin Phillips to confirm of issues late on.
in opposition to this, Potter opted for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when Sterling was pressured off. Chelsea have privately insisted Aubameyang was on an everyday basis a most effectively-favored goal regardless of the supervisor (he arrived decrease than per week earlier than Thomas Tuchel, whom he thrived beneath at Borussia Dortmund, was sacked) nonetheless the 33-12 months-outdated was a peripheral decide and was subbed off with Chelsea needing a purpose. Potter launched Chukwuemeka, a extremely rated however inexperienced teenager, Conor Gallagher and two extra kids in Omari Hutchinson (who was making his senior debut) and Lewis hall.
The distinction between metropolis’s firepower and Chelsea’s reliance on youth was marked.
Chelsea: Kepa Arrizabalaga 6, Cesar Azpilicueta 6, Thiago Silva 6, Kalidou Koulibaly 7, Marc Cucurella 6, Denis Zakaria 7, Mateo Kovacic 7, Hakim Ziyech 6, Christian Pulisic 6, Raheem Sterling 5, Kai Havertz 6
Subs: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 5, Carney Chukwuemeka 7, Omari Hutchinson 6, Lewis hall 6, Conor Gallagher 6
Manchester metropolis: Ederson 6, Kyle Walker 5, John Stones eight, Nathan Ake 7, Joao Cancelo 6, Ilkay Gundogan 7, Rodri 6, Kevin De Bruyne 7, Bernardo Silva 6, Phil Foden 5, Erling Haaland 6
Subs: Manuel Akanji 6, Rico Lewis 6, Riyad Mahrez 7, Jack Grealish 7, Kalvin Phillips 6
best and worst performers
best performer: John Stones, Manchester metropolis. Was a commanding presence on the again, producing an great early sort out to disclaim Pulisic. gained seven of his eight duels complete.
Worst performer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chelsea. Subbed on inside the fifth minute, subbed off inside the 68th after 14 touches, no pictures and attributable to this actuality a particular person xG of zero.00.
Highlights and notable moments
Chelsea’s attacking ranks are starting to look reasonably skinny.
Chelsea’s harm woes proceed 😬 pic.twitter.com/7tc4KGtaP9
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 5, 2023
After the match: What the gamers/managers acknowledged
Guardiola: “We did not play good inside the foremost half. I acknowledged thanks to Cancelo for his effort, having fun with in not his regular place, however we decided to go along with a lineup the place our gamers might adapt on the pitch in the event that they decided to go 5 on the again. inside the second half, we had been miles, miles elevated in every division. it is a large outcome for us.”
Potter on the stress mounting on him: “You on an everyday basis want to take accountability, however you hope of us take a look in your full context and see the place we’re and what we now have needed to deal with, however on the identical time feelings are extreme and it is best to try to experience out any storm and take a look at and preserve diploma. the gang had been behind the workforce and will see them doing all the things.”
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & information evaluation)
– It took Man metropolis 32 minutes and three seconds to file their first shot, the longest it is taken the membership to file a shot in a sport beneath Guardiola since Oct. 7, 2018, in a Premier League match in opposition to Liverpool (38 minutes).
– earlier to Thursday, the final time Mahrez scored a Premier League purpose away from the Etihad was Jan. 1, 2022, at Arsenal.
Chelsea and Manchester metropolis will not want to attend very prolonged for a rematch, as they’re set to sq. off in decrease than seventy two hours. the sides will meet inside the FA Cup third spherical on the Etihad on Sunday (eleven:30 a.m. ET, stream dwell on ESPN+).