A 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge saw Manchester City keep their place at the top of the Premier League standings on Saturday.
The away side secured all three points through a strike from distance from Kevin De Bruyne.
Here’s what we learned from the encounter.
CONTE’S CURIOUS MORATA REPLACEMENT
Alvaro Morata has found his feet in English football of late after an less than ideal preseason. His hat-trick away to Stoke City last week was indicative of that. Against City, he was easily Chelsea’s best attacker in the first half, going close with a header early on.
He ran the channels well and caused the visitors some problems and that’s why it was a huge blow for the Blues when he limped off in the 35th minute.
Interestingly though, Antonio Conte chose not to replace him with Michy Batshuayi who has been something of a super-sub for Chelsea this season. Instead of a like-for-like substitution, he opted top bring on Willian to partner Eden Hazard up front.
It didn’t quite pay off as the hosts struggled without an out-and-out striker on the pitch. They needed to counter swiftly but without a No9 to aim for, they were forced to try to play through City which was far from ideal.
HAZARD KEPT QUIET
After a fine display in midweek, much was expected from Hazard’s first start in the Premier League this season. However, the Belgian found it difficult to influence the game. Playing in a centre forward position with freedom to roam, he ended up struggling to find space to operate in.
He was involved in a few rare promising attacks for the hosts but couldn’t get a hold of the game. In fact, he didn’t create a single chance and had only one shot at goal that was saved by Ederson at the near post.
Hazard wasn’t afforded space to weave his way through either, completing just one take-on in the game.
PERFORMANCE BACKS PEP’S TACTICS
Last season was, by his standards, a disaster for Pep Guardiola as he endured his first trophyless campaign of his managerial career. This time around though, he’s shown why he’s considered one of the best coaches in the world.
His team have been a joy to watch and that was the case again at Stamford Bridge despite coming up against a solid Chelsea side. City outmanoeuvred the Londoners and dominated the ball, creating a steady flow of attacks to gradually break down their resistance.
Once they went ahead, there seemed to be now way back for Chelsea and instead, the visitors probably should’ve added to their tally. It was a top performance against the reigning champions and certified City’s title ambitions this season.