Chelsea's Eden Hazard left frustrated after lack of involvement in loss to Man City

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Eden Hazard felt an isolated figure as Chelsea slumped to a dismal defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.

The Belgian made no impact as he was deployed as a false nine by manager Antonio Conte.

It was a tactic that worked with some success in a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League last month but it backfired at the Etihad Stadium, where the 1-0 scoreline flattered the visitors.

A defensive-minded Chelsea failed to muster a shot on target and had only 29 per cent possession as they went down to Bernardo Silva’s 46th-minute strike.

Hazard, whose miserable afternoon was ended when he was substituted in the 89th minute, said: “When you leave the pitch you have the impression that you’ve ran, but that you haven’t played a game of football. That’s a pity.

“We could have played on for three hours and I wouldn’t touch a ball. Only at the end it went better. In the last 10-15 minutes we had more possession but we should have tried to do that all game.”

Antonio Conte, Manager

Hazard is unsure if Conte is likely to use him to perform a similar role again in future.

The 27-year-old said: “I don’t know. When the manager plays me up front I try to give everything.

“But we haven’t played a good game and for me personally it’s difficult to play a good game when you only touch the ball three times.

“I think that when we had the ball we should have done better, we made some bad decisions too.

“There weren’t a lot of opportunities. We had a few situations where we could possibly create something but we didn’t. If we’d taken these opportunities, we could maybe have scored a goal.

“But we played against Man City. It’s difficult.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Gundogan and Zinchenko star in Man City's record-setting performance against Chelsea

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Ilkay Gundogan and Manchester City utterly dominated Chelsea on Sunday.

Manchester City may not have won by five or six goals, but in its own way Sunday’s 1-0 win over Chelsea was the league leaders’ most dominant performance of the season.

Pep Guardiola‘s side set a new high mark for successful passes in a single Premier League game, with 902 – the first time any team has crossed the 900 mark since Opta began collecting such data in 2003.

They beat their own record of 843, which came earlier this season against West Brom, while another performance this season, in December against Bournemouth, is in the all-time top five, as they completed 825 passes in that game.

At this rate, the 1000 mark is in danger, and that would be a truly historic performance. 1000 attempted passes is certainly within reach – Sunday’s game saw City attempt 975.

Ilkay Gundogan was at the heart of City’s dominance on Sunday, controlling play in midfield and showing off his passing range. His total of 167 successful passes and 181 touches were both the most ever by a player in the Premier League, justifying Guardiola’s faith in handing him the deep-lying midfielder’s role in the absence of the injured Fernandinho.

What was truly stunning about Gundogan’s display was how eager he was to move the ball on, never wasting possession. Only seven of his touches were not at least an attempt at a pass.

Remarkably, Gundogan was nearly matched by young colleague Oleksander Zinchenko. The left-back had 147 successful passes and 163 touches, with the 21-year-old already looking like a classic Guardiola full-back.

While City were no doubt dominant on Sunday, some of the “credit” for their historic stats should also go to Chelsea. The reigning champions allowed Guardiola’s side to play with comfort in midfield, sitting back and letting City’s midfielders stroke the ball around.

The lack of any press – or any urgency and intent at all – from Chelsea was alarming, and has come under criticism from all quarters, as the champions’ passivity pretty much guaranteed a dominant City performance.

Take nothing away from the Citizens, however. City played Chelsea off the park, and they’ve got the numbers to prove it.

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Arsenal's season of lows in numbers as Arsene Wenger's side lose 2-1 to Brighton

Tom White 5/03/2018
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Arsenal‘s dismal season hit another new low on Sunday with a 2-1 Premier League defeat to Brighton.

As pressure builds on manager Arsene Wenger, Press Association Sport takes a statistical look at the team’s struggles this term.

9 – with nine games remaining, Arsenal are already mathematically eliminated from title contention – 33 points behind leaders Manchester City with 27 to play for.

13 – points behind rivals Tottenham in the race for fourth place and Champions League qualification.

4 – successive defeats for the Gunners in three different competitions, with Brighton adding to back-to-back losses against Manchester City (league and Carabao Cup final) as well as Ostersund in the Europa League.

44.8 – Arsenal’s Premier League winning percentage this season (13 out of 29 games) is their lowest under Wenger.

Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal reacts

11 – Wenger’s side have not kept a clean sheet in their 11 Premier League games since beating Newcastle 1-0 in December, leaving goalkeeper Petr Cech stuck on 199 clean sheets in the competition.

41 – goals conceded in this season’s Premier League – they conceded only three more in the whole of last season, and only 26 in their ‘Invincible’ season of 2003-04.

£101million – reported fees paid for strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who between them have scored 11 league goals for the Gunners this season.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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