LONDON — Riyad Mahrez got here off the bench to web a 63rd-minute winner as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Thursday to shut the hole on Premier League leaders Arsenal to 5 factors
Substitute Carney Chukwuemeka hit the put up towards the tip of a primary half brief on goalmouth motion. Simply after the hour mark, a flowing transfer ended with two Metropolis substitutes combining as Jack Grealish‘s cross drifted near Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga however nonetheless discovered Mahrez for a tap-in on the far put up.
The consequence leaves Graham Potter’s aspect languishing in tenth place within the desk forward of the 2 sides assembly once more in Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Etihad Stadium.
1. Metropolis not good however ok as Potter’s issues develop
Pep Guardiola claimed Manchester Metropolis must be “virtually good” to catch Arsenal on the high of the desk, however they had been nowhere close to that on Thursday, but nonetheless reduce the deficit to 5 factors. Metropolis appeared unusually disjointed within the first half, taking greater 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 element, or the sheer quantity of soccer since home play resumed following the World Cup, however Metropolis not often bought out of second gear and but had been nonetheless in a position to inflict a fifth defeat in eight video games throughout all competitions on their hosts.
Potter will not be underneath any imminent risk when it comes to his job, however Chelsea stay in tenth place, 10 factors behind fourth-placed Manchester United. The membership’s new homeowners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, have been adamant that Potter will likely be given time to stamp his authority on the squad, having solely been appointed in September, however the membership spent greater than £270 million on summer season transfers, and as they put together to take a position closely once more, a extra good-looking return on that outlay will likely be anticipated. Chelsea have taken simply three factors in opposition to groups presently within the high half of the desk.
2. Harm issues mount for Chelsea …
Mason Mount was lacking from the beginning lineup after selecting up a knock in coaching, and throughout the first 22 minutes right here, Chelsea had two extra accidents to cope with as Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic limped off. Potter was at all times more likely to rotate for Sunday’s FA Cup tie in opposition to the identical opponents, however the necessity to relaxation gamers for the additional Premier League fixture they need to squeeze in in opposition to Fulham subsequent Thursday will likely be heightened by the general harm image.
Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante are all already lacking, however at the least Benoit Badiashile was within the stands subsequent to Boehly right here, recent from completing a €37m move from AS Monaco earlier within the day. He is likely to be wanted earlier than ultimate at this price.
Chelsea are actively trying to strengthen within the January switch window, continuing talks with Benfica over midfielder Enzo Fernandez, and negotiations are expected to take place with Shakhtar Donetsk director of soccer Darijo Srna over a deal for winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The staff’s present plight, mixed with the variety of gamers absent, will solely heighten the strain on the membership to behave decisively out there.
3. … as Metropolis’s bench makes the distinction
There was a passing resemblance to the 2021 Champions League last within the first half as Guardiola was in peril of overcomplicating his lineup as occurred that evening in Porto. Metropolis operated with a again three in possession as Joao Cancelo was utilised in a sophisticated right-sided position. Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne usually came visiting to that flank in try and overload Chelsea, however greater than something, the gamers appeared unable to seek out house within the method Metropolis so usually handle higher than anybody else.
In the long run, Guardiola’s changes labored the oracle as Manuel Akanji and Rico Lewis got here on on the interval to offer Metropolis higher steadiness earlier than Grealish and Mahrez had been launched on the hour mark, combining for the profitable objective simply three minutes later. There was even time for £45m signing Kalvin Phillips to ensure of issues late on.
In contrast, Potter opted for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when Sterling was pressured off. Chelsea have privately insisted Aubameyang was at all times a most well-liked goal whatever the supervisor (he arrived lower than per week earlier than Thomas Tuchel, whom he thrived underneath at Borussia Dortmund, was sacked) however the 33-year-old was a peripheral determine and was subbed off with Chelsea needing a objective. 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 Corridor 6, Conor Gallagher 6
Manchester Metropolis: Ederson 6, Kyle Walker 5, John Stones 8, 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
Greatest and worst performers
Greatest performer: John Stones, Manchester Metropolis. Was a commanding presence on the again, producing a superb early deal with to disclaim Pulisic. Gained seven of his eight duels general.
Worst performer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chelsea. Subbed on within the fifth minute, subbed off within the 68th after 14 touches, no pictures and due to this fact a person xG of 0.00.
Highlights and notable moments
Chelsea’s attacking ranks are starting to look fairly skinny.
Chelsea’s harm woes proceed 😬 pic.twitter.com/7tc4KGtaP9
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 5, 2023
After the match: What the gamers/managers mentioned
Guardiola: “We did not play good within the first half. I mentioned thanks to Cancelo for his effort, enjoying in not his ordinary place, however we determined to go together with a lineup the place our gamers may adapt on the pitch in the event that they determined to go 5 on the again. Within the second half, we had been miles, miles higher in each division. It is a massive consequence for us.”
Potter on the strain mounting on him: “You at all times need to take accountability, however you hope individuals take a look at the entire context and see the place we’re and what we have now needed to take care of, however on the similar time feelings are excessive and you must try to experience out any storm and attempt to keep stage. The group had been behind the staff and will see them doing the whole lot.”
Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info analysis)
– 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 underneath Guardiola since Oct. 7, 2018, in a Premier League match in opposition to Liverpool (38 minutes).
– Previous to Thursday, the final time Mahrez scored a Premier League objective away from the Etihad was Jan. 1, 2022, at Arsenal.
Chelsea and Manchester Metropolis will not have to attend very lengthy for a rematch, as they’re set to sq. off in lower than 72 hours. The perimeters will meet within the FA Cup third spherical on the Etihad on Sunday (11:30 a.m. ET, stream live on ESPN+).