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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 23 June, 2018
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Liveblog

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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail aaron@the42.ie, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off is at 4.00pm.

Let’s start with some team news…

So, today’s teams are:

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sane.

Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Toure, Foden.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Pedro.

Subs: Chalobah, Caballero, Morata, Giroud, Zappacosta, Cahill, Emerson.

The magic number for Pep Guardiola stands at five.

Five more wins and he will have bagged the Premier League title in a season where his side has led from start to finish.

Dethroning Chelsea has long been foreseen this campaign but defeating Antonio Conte’s side here today en route to claiming the title would be a fitting pit-stop along the way.

City are off the back of two drubbings of Arsenal in the past week, in the process bagging the League Cup.

A traditional treble — consisting of the league, FA Cup and European Cup — is out of the question following defeat to Paul Cooke’s Wigan, however a treble nonetheless is still within reach for the Blues.

They face a sort of resurgent Chelsea side today, one which is still battling to secure Champions League football for next season.

Their displays against Barcelona and Manchester United in the past fortnight give reason for optimism, but it is worth bearing in mind that Chelsea won neither of those games despite decent performances.

22 points stands between the teams ahead of kick-off, but the only number on Guardiola’s mind for today is making five into four more wins needed to claim the title.

Both teams currently going through their final warm-ups with kick-off a little under 20 minutes to go. How do we see this one going?

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Source: Laurence Griffiths

927109446

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League

A telling statistic if ever there was one for two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum this season: Manchester City are currently 18 points better off than they were at this stage last year, while Chelsea are 16 points worse off.

2Mins

An early chance for Sergio Aguero as he peels away from Andreas Christensen inside the box. The ball comes to the striker just five yards from goal but he can do nothing but re-direct the pass into the arm and over the top of the crossbar.

7Mins

A handful of chances have come to pass for City, as Chelsea have really yet to leave their own half in an attempt to forge an attack.

Pressing high yielded a lot of rewards for Antonio Conte against Barcelona almost a fortnight ago, but for now his side appear content to sit back and soak up pressure allowing Willian and Eden Hazard the potential to break like a flash on the counter.

15Mins

Chance! Chelsea are really at sixes and sevens at the moment with an air of uncertainty and panic. Sergio Aguero strolls through the box with ease, taking it past one defender and then another looking for an opening.

He picks his shot but the effort is eventually blocked down by a mass of blue bodies. A good move by City as they up the ante with 15 minutes on the clock.

20Mins

CHANCE! Oooof that was close. That was so very, very close for Manchester City.

A magical run from Leroy Sane takes him past two, three, four defenders before he runs out of steam. The ball falls to Sergio Aguero inside the box, who recycles possession back towards Bernardo Silva.

He eyes an empty pocket unguarded in Thibaut Courtois’s goal and tries to curl the ball bending and swerving into the top corner, but it just misses its intended target and just nips over the bar by a matter of millimetres.

26Mins

Off the line! Cesar Azpilicueta saves Chelsea’s bacon by booting the ball off the line in dramatic fashion.

A routine free-kick into the box fell menacingly to Leroy Sane completely unmarked towards the back post.

The German winger then chested the ball back into a shooting position and sized up a fine effort, but looked away in dismay as Azpilicueta scrambled back to cover his goalkeeper and boot the ball into Row Z.

30Mins

It’s been all Man City after half an hour this evening.

927127036 Source: Shaun Botterill

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League

33Mins

Yet another chances goes begging for Man City. This time it’s Bernardo Silva who’s free just inside the box cutting inside from the right wing.

The ball falls on a plate to the Portuguese forward and — trying to curl it into the top corner beyond the reach of Courtois — balloons his effort disastrously well wide of the post.

35Mins

A first proper attack of the game for Chelsea and it comes as no surprise that it’s Willian who instigates it.

Taking the ball from deep inside his own half, the in-form Brazilian dashes 30 metres past one challenge and then another, before firing an accurate long pass over towards the opposite flank.

Pedro’s overlapping run is met with a second through ball, but the Spaniard’s cross on the right wing lacks any power or accuracy and is easily gathered by Ederson.

Better from Chelsea, that.

42Mins

Man City have the ball in the back of the net and the crowd cheers in celebration… but it’s ruled out for offside.

Sergio Aguero does well to get himself into a good position inside the box, but it’s a little too good to be true as the linesman raises his flag as the ball ripples the back of the net with a tidy finish.

45Mins

There will be just one minute of additional time to come at the end of the first half.

46Mins

Second-half: Man City get us back underway for another 45 minutes.

46Mins

Man City race into the lead right at the start of the second half! Chelsea did so well to keep them out for 45 minutes but just seconds after the re-start a ball aimed towards the back post was followed by a sweet connection from Bernardo Silva, who sweeps the ball past Thibaut Courtois to make it 1-0.

48Mins

A completely chaotic start to the second half sees Ilkay Gundogan receive a yellow card moments after the opening goal.  It was a reckless challenge from the German midfielder, who went through Eden Hazard carelessly.

54Mins

Chance! Oh goodness me, Victor Moses will not want to see the replay of that on Match of the Day 2 later on tonight.

He is played clean through for a one on one with Ederson inside the box. The angle is slightly acute on his right foot, but there is no excuse for Moses to not hit the target at all — instead of testing the Man City goalkeeper he slices a terrible effort into the stands.

It was a brilliant break from Chelsea and a positive reaction to going a goal behind, but they may very well rue that miss later on. A terrible miss indeed.

62Mins

Chelsea really struggling the last few minutes and visibly lacking some motivation and energy.

A high press from Sane and Aguero sees Courtois forced to boot the ball up the field, with the visiting attack refusing to apply the same pressure to their opponents.

City seem very happy to stroke the ball around and simply maintain possession with a high line.

68Mins

There have been quite a few this evening.

76Mins

A break on the counter from Chelsea but it ends in utter frustration. Pedro dashes down the left wing with pace and intent, but his final ball to Eden Hazard goes no-where and meets no-one but a Manchester City defender.

Antonio Conte looks on abject and, well, frustrated.

78Mins

A close opportunity to double their lead, but City pass up the chance.

It’s more excellent work from Leroy Sane, who turns Victor Moses inside out along the touchline. The forward cuts inside and dashes into the box, but his ball across goal goes begging as no-one is there to tap it into an empty net.

82Mins

Substitution for Chelsea: Emerson replaces Pedro.

86Mins

A slow end to this game and you really would think Chelsea are more than a goal down at this stage. They have showed very little intent to try and grab an equaliser and appear to have long accepted their fate of defeat this evening. Five minutes to go.

90Mins

90Mins

There will be four minutes of additional time to come at the end of the second half.

90Mins

A late chance for a second but Leroy Sane blasts over the top of the crossbar from distance. This game is drifting slowly, slowly, slowly towards full-time.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher

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