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Dublin: 1 °C Tuesday 22 January, 2019
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Hello! And welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this evening’s Premier League clash between Chelsea and Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s champions come to Stamford Bridge in second place, following Liverpool’s impressive 4-0 win over Bournemouth earlier today.

A win today will restore their place at the top of the table, but it’s easier said than done.

Chelsea have the top four in their sights and following a shock 2-1 defeat to newly-promoted Wolves on Wednesday night, Sarri’s men are in need of all three points here today.

A defeat in London and Chelsea will be a massive 13 points adrift of City at the top of the table — a gap which seems insurmountable if the Blues have any notions of being outsiders for the title this season.

Kick-off is coming up at 5.30pm!

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro, Hazard, Willian.

Substitutes: Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Caballero, Giroud, Christensen, Emerson Palmieri.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Silva, Mahrez, Sterling, Sane.

Substitutes: Danilo, Kompany, Gundogan, Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus, Foden, Muric.

No centre forward from either side this evening, with Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Morata ruled out through injury. Both Sarri and Guardiola have seemingly opted for 4-3-3 formations for this game, with Eden Hazard and Raheem Sterling the likely candidates to fill in as designated strikers.

Stamford Bridge has been the home of Premier League champions twice in the last four seasons, however the hosts will be the heavy underdogs in this game.

Man City have dropped just two points all season and are, on the evidence of recent performances, have the potential to run away with the league title. Liverpool are their closest rivals for the title, but a win will see Guardiola’s men retain top spot.

Chelsea looked to be back on track with a comfortable 2-0 win against Fulham last weekend, but that defeat against Wolves midweek has really set them back. Ireland defender Matt Doherty got an assist in his side’s 2-1 win, and the result sees Sarri’s charges in a race for a Champions League place as things stand.

Right, with a little under 45 minutes to go before we get underway, how do we see this game going? Let us know below!


Poll Results:





4Mins

A quiet opening spell despite the big names on show this evening. It will be interesting to see how both sides navigate this affair without a recognised striker in their respective starting XI’s.

Raheem Sterling and Eden Hazard have scored a combined 15 goals so far this season, so we shouldn’t be too stuck for sights on goal by any stretch.

7Mins

Very, very close chance for Sterling. It’s a lighting quick break as the England forward races through the middle of the park with incredible ease. He exchanges a neat one-two with Leroy Sane on the left wing, but Sterling’s eventual shot at goal is relatively weak and right at Kepa. A great move, but a poor finish.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Tim Ireland

10Mins

Chelsea struggling to keep the ball inside their own half so far. Man City applying a persistent press which is proving very irritating for David Luiz and Marcos Alonso who are trying to bring the ball out of defence and pick out a pass. Guardiola’s men very much on top.

14Mins

There’s a scramble inside the Chelsea box as Leroy Sane exchanges a snappy one-two with David Silva. The German forward tries to get his shot off running at pace, but can’t quite get the ball out of his feet. After losing possession, he concedes a foul and Chelsea’s panic is brought to an end.

16Mins

19Mins

There seems to be a glaring difference in the pressing game of both teams. Whereas Man City suffocate their opponents and seem to always force an error or force the ball out of play, Chelsea struggle to apply a similar routine. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are very comfortable with the ball at their feet and always seem to find a team-mate when under any sort of pressure at the back.

22Mins

A half-chance for Man City as David Silva curls a free-kick from a dangerous position into the box. Unfortunately for him, it drifts over everybody’s head and flies wide of the post. It’s very lax at the moment and not a huge amount of bite from either team.

Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: PA Wire/PA Images

28Mins

Approaching the half-hour mark and there’s been just one shot all game. It’s been that sort of a match so far really, City enjoying large sways of possession but not a whole lot else. Lots of pretty, buzzy passes from left to right, plenty of fast running and high pressing — but no clear sights at goal. Finely balanced and waiting for something big to take place, it seems.

30Mins

Close! All of a sudden Man City burst into life after turning on the afterburners out of no-where. Leroy Sane is picked out by a smart through ball from Riyad Mahrez — he has a strike at goal but it’s saved by Kepa, before the follow-up is blocked brilliantly by Antonio Rudiger with his goalkeeper in no-man’s land.

Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: Steven Paston

33Mins

Two chances in quick succession for the Premier League champions as Bernardo Silva almost converts with a clever header at the near post. His effort flies back across goal and threatens to be deflected past Kepa by a host of Chelsea bodies protecting his goal, but the danger passes and the ball flies out the other end of the box.

36Mins

Andreas Christensen has been sent to warm up after David Luiz colliding mid-air with Raheem Sterling. The Man City forward appeared to be trying to jump out of his opponent’s way, only to jump into the Brazilian — who went down clutching his lower back and appearing in some amount of pain.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Tim Ireland

41Mins

Sterling receives some words from the Chelsea supporters as he goes to retrieve the ball for a corner kick. “They’re wishing him a happy birthday,” says Steve McManaman in commentary. It is, in fact, Sterling’s 24th birthday.

45Mins

GOOOOOOALLL! Out of absoutely no-where Chelsea are ahead and it’s a thumping finish from N’Golo Kante to make it 1-0. On a rare venture into Man City’s final third, Eden Hazard offers a swivel of the hips before laying the ball on a plate for his team-mate — Kante doesn’t need a second invitation and rifles the ball past Kepa. Where did that come from?

Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: PA Wire/PA Images

45Mins

There will be two minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.

45Mins

Well there we are, halfway stage already. After a slow and steady opening, this game has ended on a real high. N’Golo Kante’s thundering strike right on the stroke of half-time has put a cat amongst the pigeons. Man City had been in charge from start to finish here, enjoying the lion’s share of possession and sights at goal, but Sarri’s men are somehow ahead. If Pep Guardiola’s side lose today, Liverpool will remain top of the table. More action to come shortly!

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 18.22.43

47Mins

There are all sort of stats doing the rounds about how few goals Man City have conceded this season (just eight in 16 games) and how they have not trailed going into half-time in the Premier League this season. But perhaps the most important stat of that opening half will be the fact that Kante’s goal was Chelsea’s first shot on goal all game. Talk about smash and grab.

49Mins

SAVE! A powerful free-kick from Willian forces Ederson to spring from his line and produce an acrobatic save to keep the damage at 1-0. Pedro tries with the rebound, but the referee’s flag is raised for offside. That was an incredible initial stop from the Man City goalkeeper, it has to be said.

50Mins

Chelsea are looking like an entirely different team in this second half, a hundred times better. Hazard holds the ball up well, before feeding the overlapping run of goalscorer Kante into the box. He takes a touch before firing a low cross into the mixer, but the ball is hoofed clear by Aymeric Laporte. City under a bit of pressure now.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Tim Ireland

57Mins

Pep Guardiola is looking increasingly frustrated as the minutes wear on, returning to his seat muttering to himself and seeming a bit agitated. He will know his side have been on top for the majority of this game, but they have nothing to show for it. As the old saying goes, the only stat that matters is the one on the scoreboard.

57Mins

Close! Kyle Walker almost draws his side level with a dipping free-kick which easily could have cracked the back of the net. The England defender got plenty of whip on his shot, but Ederson read it well and managed to get across his goal-line in time to claw it away.

60Mins

This has been the longest period of time Man City have been behind in any Premier League game this season. They have offered a suitable response here, attacking at every chance possible, but you really have to say they are missing the threat of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne in the final third. Very little movement or action from Sterling and Mahrez at the minute. A very isolated and stiff attack.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Tim Ireland

63Mins

Jorginho is shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver having gotten involved in a melee after Man City did not put the ball out of play, with Mateo Kovacic having gone down injured and needing treatment.

68Mins

Man City have now gone 23 minutes without a chance from open play to test Kepa. They had that free-kick from Kyle Walker, but Guardiola’s men are really struggling to break down that backline patrolled by David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger, who have been very solid since the interval.

74Mins

Chelsea have been soaking up pressure over the course of the last 15 minutes, but Cesar Azpilicueta latches onto possession and fancies a run down the right flank. He picks out Eden Hazard with a smart pass and the Belgian is brought down by Laporte for a shove in the back. The free-kick is a in a decent position for the hosts, but Hazard’s poor delivery is easily hooked away.

75Mins

Substitution: Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Willian for Chelsea.

76Mins

Ross Barkley with a sight at goal. He takes possession on the edge of the box and tries to slip the ball into Ederson’s bottom corner but the goalkeeper reads it well and palms it away for a corner.

78Mins

GOOOOOAL! Chelsea have doubled their advantage and Man City are on course for their first defeat of the season. From the resulting corner David Luiz rises highest and heads past Ederson for 2-0. Amazing scenes!

Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Source: PA Wire/PA Images

83Mins

Who could have seen this coming? Having lost to Wolves midweek, Chelsea were complete underdogs heading into this game. Now 2-0 up with only six minutes to go, they have thrown the title race wide open here with a shock result. Well, if they can hang on that is. It’s not over until it’s over, as they say.

87Mins

Pep Guardiola is in heated conversation with fourth official Andre Marriner, he doesn’t look happy. His side are not used to losing Premier League games — they will need a late, great comeback of comebacks here if they are to snatch something. A handful of minutes remaining.

89Mins

Shot! Fernandinho with a powerful strike from outside the box, but the Brazilian’s effort was always flying wide. He hit it well, made a good connection, but it doesn’t test Kepa and floats way off target before hitting the advertising hoarding behind the goal.

Manchester City v Lyon - UEFA Champions League - Group F - Etihad Stadium Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

90Mins

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

90Mins

Substitution: Olivier Giroud replaces Eden Hazard for Chelsea.

Well, there we go. What a game and what a result, particularly for the title race in the Premier League. Manchester City dominated the game in the opening half, but goals either side of the break from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz saw Chelsea snatch all three points.

A much, much better second half display saw Maurizio Sarri’s men frustrate the champions, with this result bringing his side up to third place and inflict a first Premier League defeat of the season on Man City. Thanks a million for joining us for the evening. You can read our full match report here. Cya!

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher

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