Chelsea have been beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in a game that they were thoroughly outclassed for the main part, and one which has brought into serious question their ability to defend the Premiership title.
The game started brightly for City; the home side created the first chance after only a few seconds where Silva was able to play in Aguero who turned away from Terry and found himself clear on goal but unable to finish past Begovic who made a good save down low.
The quick start from Pellegrini’s side didn’t appear to fluster Chelsea much and the Blues were happy to venture forward with Willian and Hazard seeing most of the ball in City’s half. Their first foray into the penalty box resulted in a penalty appeal in the sixth minute when Costa was felled but it was unclear whether it was from the trailing leg of Mangala or the already on the floor Ramires. Costa was convinced it was the former.
It was still the home side that by and large took the initiative, and whose attacks appeared the more likely to result in a goal. Begovic was forced to make another good save down low when Aguero turned quickly in the penalty area, and then again a minute later when Navas found him in the same position. Chelsea’s play was too narrow and City were time and again finding space on the wings.
The champions were able to create half a chance of their own when Hazard fired in a cross on the half volley which one wishes Costa had connected with instead of Matic- the header went over the bar- before Aguero missed his fourth chance in 20 minutes when failed to convert a left side cross from close range.
They paid the price, however, for their fecklessness in defence and Aguero got his goal at the fifth attempt from a similar position that he had missed two others from, turning Cahill left and right before finishing low into the left hand corner of the goal. It is perhaps ironic that the goal came in a time when Chelsea were coming into the game for the first time, after they had prolonged periods of possession.
That being said, there is no doubt that Jose Mourinho’s team deserve to be a goal down, and could possibly deserve to have conceded a few more. Mangala missed a good chance shortly before half-time when he didn’t connect to a free-kick from the right, something that Cahill took a knock to the face for from Begovic as the ‘keeper came out to clear it.
Chelsea were down to nine men briefly when Fernandihno should have been sent off for elbowing Costa in the side of the head, but they were able to get to half-time without conceding any more.They appeared timid by their opponents attacks and had little to offer in return.
The second half began in a similar vein- Sterling made a smart run down the left and forced the foul from Ivanovic, but nothing came from the free-kick. Ramires had a goal disallowed in the fiftieth minute for Chelsea when City stepped up to catch the Brazil international has he finished beyond Joe Hart, but following the opening brightness from City it was Chelsea that were applying the pressure early in the second half.
A cross from Ivanovic hovered invitingly in front of Hart but Costa was unable to attack and stay onside, City responded with a Toure shot from the edge of the box that was saved by Begovic but they weren’t cutting open the defence as they did in the first half. Kurt Zouma, who had come on at half-time, gave more cover and extra speed where it was desperately needed. Azpilicueta was went forward more readily, and Chelsea’s best chance of the game came with 20 minutes left as they counter-attacked 3-on-3, Hazard playing the ball to Costa who played it back but the Belgian couldn’t finish from inside the penalty area.
It was the pivotal moment of the half and Chelsea were led to regret it when Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany drifted ahead of any marker and headed a corner from David Silva past Begovic to double their lead.
Chelsea’s misery was compounded further with four minutes left as Fernandinho, incorrectly left on the pitch from the first half, fired past Begovic when Chelsea failed to clear. The game drifted away in the last few minutes, Costa hit the post in stoppage time but couldn’t find a consolation. Despite the sporadic moments of pressure Chelsea were never likely to get anything from the game. The season is only eight days old, yet the Premiership title appears to be getting away from Chelsea already.
Asmir Begović; Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Terry (c), Cesar Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian, Cesc Fàbregas, Eden Hazard; Diego Costa.
Subs: Blackman, Kurt Zouma, Mikel, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Juan Cuadrado, Falcao, Remy.
Manchester City :
Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, Sterling, Aguero
Subs: Caballero, Zabaleta, Clichy, Nasri, Demichelis, Bony, Iheanacho
Referee: Martin Atkinson