Player ratings as Manchester City earn hard-fought 1-0 win at Chelsea

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Manchester City laid down a marker in the title race with a hard-fought win at the home of the champions as former Chelsea player Kevin de Bruyne returned to Stamford Bridge to haunt his old clubs.

De Bruyne’s brilliant strike confirmed City’s dominance on the night, as their possession and passing threatened to overwhelm Chelsea at times. Indeed, it was only some typically dogged Chelsea defending that kept the score at 1-0, while the defending champions failed to test the City defence.

Here’s a look at how the players on both sides fared.

CHELSEA

THIBAUT COURTOIS: Avoided potential calamity when Gabriel Jesus blocked a clearance, but made good saves from David Silva and Fernandinho. 6 (out of 10).

ANTONIO RUDIGER: The intensity of City’s press affected him. A few misplaced passes. 5.

ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN: Some glimpses of his potential on the ball and did well against Jesus. 7.

GARY CAHILL: A solid performance. Raheem Sterling had some joy down Chelsea’s left, though. 6.

CESAR AZPILICUETA: Switch to right wing-back saw him shut down City’s left, but denied Chelsea an attacking outlet on the right. 6.

N’GOLO KANTE: Performed well defensively, but did not have the attacking impact he did at Atletico Madrid. 7.

TIEMOUE BAKAYOKO: Subdued by City’s midfield as the visitors harangued their hosts. 5.

MARCOS ALONSO: Spent most of the game on defensive duty as City nullified his attacking threat. 6.

ALVARO MORATA: Had a half-chance snuffed out and showed signs of promise before going off with an apparent hamstring problem. 6.

EDEN HAZARD: Had some strong runs and one shot which tested Ederson. Isolated at times once Morata departed. 6.

CESC FABREGAS: Was never allowed to settle on the ball and toiled defensively. 5.

Substitutes

WILLIAN (for Morata, 35 minutes): Too many misplaced passes and not enough movement from the Brazilian. 5.

PEDRO (for Hazard, 73): Had little opportunity to make an impact. 6.

MICHY BATSHUAYI (for Bakayoko, 73): No chance to impress as City continued to push Chelsea back. 6.

MANCHESTER CITY

EDERSON: Scrambled away Azpilicueta’s shot early on and pushed away Hazard’s effort in the second half. 7.

KYLE WALKER: Looks to be enjoying the extra freedom to given to him by his new coach. Excellent going forward. 8.

JOHN STONES: Continues to mature under Guardiola although this was one of his quieter afternoons. Successfully limited Hazard’s influence. 6.

NICOLAS OTAMENDI: Like Stones, he was perhaps fortunate to see the in-form Morata go off so early but there was little to criticise. A composed display. 6.

FABIAN DELPH: Could have been punished by Azpilicueta for failing to clear a deep cross late on but otherwise looked comfortable again in the unfamiliar position of left wing-back. 7.

KEVIN DE BRUYNE: Best player on the pitch. Involved in most of City’s chances until deciding the match himself with a brilliant long-range shot. 9.

FERNANDINHO: Powered a header towards goal in the first half but was denied by an excellent Courtois save. Dependable as always. 7.

RAHEEM STERLING: A constant threat down the flanks and, while occasionally wasteful, could have had three assists if his team-mates had been more clinical. 8.

DAVID SILVA: Almost latched on to a Sterling cross in the second half. His link-up with Jesus will get better with time. 6.

LEROY SANE: Not one of his better performances and was taken off for Ilkay Gundogan with six minutes left. 6.

GABRIEL JESUS: It was his touch that laid on De Bruyne’s thundering strike and unlucky to see a late volley cleared off the line by Rudiger. 6.

Substitutes

BERNARDIO SILVA (for Silva, 76): Kept possession under pressure in the latter stages as City held on. 6.

ILKAY GUNDOGAN (for Sane, 84): Brought on to give City more protection in the final minutes. 6.

DANILO (for De Bruyne, 90): Came on too late to make an impact. 5

Most popular

Man City's title charge certified and other things learned from win over Chelsea

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

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.

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte

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.

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard

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.

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola

Most popular

Marcus Rashford shines on the wing - Seven deadly stats as Man United beat Crystal Palace 4-0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

After their exertions midweek, when they travelled to Moscow for a Champions League fixture on Wednesday, the Premier League’s bottom side were just what the doctor ordered for Manchester United.

The Red Devils ended a hectic September with a fairly easy win, as Crystal Palace’s misery continued. Palace are only the second team to lose their opening seven games in a Premier League season, after Portsmouth in 2009/10, and they have yet to score a league goal this season. United, of course, have no such worries after heading into the international break with a 4-0 win.

Here are seven deadly stats from the game…

MATA’S LONG WAIT COMES TO AN END

For all of Juan Mata’s excellent play both this season and last, he has been criticised, along with his fellow attacking players at United, for not being enough of a goal threat.

With Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Maruoane Fellaini all showing increased potency in front of goal, it was only a matter of time before Mata would also benefit from United’s improved attacking play this season. The elusive goal finally came via a smart, simple finish after some excellent work on the left wing from Rashford.

RASHFORD THE CREATOR

Rashford has looked promising on the wing, often beating defenders with pure speed mixed with skill and trickery on the ball, but he’s never quite had a game like this. 

The youngster’s excellent play has not always been rewarded in ways that show up on the stat sheet, but on Saturday his contribution was clear. One flash of brilliance on the left to set up Mata’s opener, and a perfectly-delivered free-kick led to Fellaini’s second.

TEENAGER IN FINE FORM

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Rashford’s only 19. He’s been a first-team regular for nearly two seasons now, which is remarkable in itself, and it’s rare that he doesn’t contribute in some way. If it’s not via goals, assists, or just offering a threat to opposing defenders, Rashford will always provide the work rate that will endear him to managers when nothing is going for him.

At present, however, things are definitely going for him – the teenager is a man on top form right now.

FELLAINI’S TIME TO SHINE?

Fellaini arrived at Manchester United in 2013, in a much-derided transfer that looked even worse after he failed to score that entire season. He scored seven goals in 2014/15, Louis van Gaal’s first season at the club, and in the two seasons after that he’s scored four goals each.

This season, he’s already at four and thus is well on course to have his highest-scoring season for United. The prevailing opinion on the tall, physical Belgian is shifting, with fans recognising that Fellaini is not only an effective player, but is slowly becoming a vital one.

LUKAKU’S RUN CONTINUES

In all honesty, Lukaku should have more than seven Premier League goals. He’s missed a few presentable chances this season, and he could easily already be on double figures for the league campaign. 

As it is, he’s at 11 across 10 games in all competitions, and it’s hard to criticise anyone who has seven goals in seven league games. What a start he’s made. 

MARTIAL GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

There is no doubt that on his day, Anthony Martial is a truly brilliant player. He struggled to show that on a consistent basis last season, as Jose Mourinho was wary of using a player who can undermine his brilliance with a fair share of frustrating moments.

This season, however, Martial looks rejuvenated and full of confidence, and that’s translating to tangible returns on the pitch. His goal in United’s midweek Champions League tie put him atop the club’s total scoring charts for the period starting from the time he joined, and his assist numbers are just as good.

MANCHESTER UNITED’S GOALSCORING FORM

United weren’t at their free-flowing best on Saturday, with a fixture-packed month no doubt taking its toll. But yet again, they racked up a dominant scoreline without really moving through the gears.

Goals, especially in home games, were hard to come by last season, but that concern has been put to bed.

Most popular